By Ryan Peddigrew 
BELLEVILLE – After a long and difficult season, the Loyalist Lancers women’s soccer team saw it come to a close Tuesday night against the Durham Lords by a score of 5-0.
It was a typical game for the Lancers: multi-goal losses and minimal offence. Two players, Ashley MacDonald and Ella Bannon, were standouts, combining for seven of the team’s 11 goals this season.
On Tuesday night, the Lancers took on the Lords in the brisk fall evening weather as about 20 people sat in the stands with barely a peep. This was a matchup of two teams who, organizationally, are in very different places. The Lancers are OCAA standings basement dwellers, who went into last night’s game with a 1-5-2 record. Compare this to the Lords, who’ve clinched a playoff spot with a 6-2 record.
The Lancers came out flat in the first half and went down early as Durham scored inside the first three minutes. After that, it was all Lords. Durham went into the half with a 3-0 lead.
In the second half, the Lancers came out looking more lively. After a first half plagued with failed offensive zone entry, lethargic breakouts, and errant passes. the team changed its game plan at the half. They increased offensive zone pressure, upped the tempo and moved the ball up the field faster which resulted in more chances.
In the 50th minute, they had a shot swatted away by the Durham keeper, Then, in the 58th minute, they shot another wide right. Shortly after that Durham added another tally from way outside the box. Midway through the second half the Lords increased the pressure and had a few shots of their own trickle just wide.
In the end, the Lancers fell 5 to 0 after Durham extended their lead in extra time. The game came down to preparation and the Lancers just couldn’t keep up with a Durham team that looked much more structured in their attacks.
On the brighter side for the Lancers the trend is, tentatively, on the up and up.
Lancers coach Rob Terry says the key moving forward next season is more off-season training and conditioning.
“We started some off-season training and we’re going to actually take it up a little higher notch. We’re going to use the Loyalist dome to do some indoor training in the fall and in the winter we play games full-field at RMC.” says Terry
They won one game this year and tied two which is better than the zero wins and one tie from a year ago. They played three fewer games this year than last, but managed to score seven more goals. Last year they averaged nearly five and a half goals against per game and this year they brought it down to just below five.
These small improvements just might be the signs of an ailing program with a renaissance on the horizon.