The U of M Bisons women’s soccer team rounded out the season with a pair of home games this weekend.
The club dropped the first game to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and earned a draw with the University of Regina Cougars the next night, locking up third place in the division.
“We’re very happy we were able to secure that third place in the standings,” said Bisons head coach Vanessa Martinez Lagunas.
“I’m just really proud of the girls.”
The Huskies took an early 1-0 lead Friday and never looked back, blanking the Bisons 3-0.
Taneil Gay stole a pass by Shaylyn Dyck, creating open field to tap in the game’s opening goal less than three minutes in.
The visitors stretched the lead to two in the 43rd minute when Haley Mercier converted on a pass from Maya Gabruch to put Saskatchewan up 2-0.
Saskatchewan built on the lead early in the second half when Cassidy Hayward got her shot past Bisons keeper Madison Wilford in the 49th minute.
From then on, the Huskies were comfortable to play a defensive game.
This gave the Bisons more chances in the second half, but Jadyn Steinhauer stopped all three shots that came her way in the game.
“We really struggled at the beginning,” said Martinez Lagunas.
“I think we had a really bad start and that put us on our back foot. In the second half, we played better.”
This was also the first time in four games that Wilford let anything by. She was able to stop four of the seven shots that came her way in the match.
The Bisons finished off the regular season with a scoreless draw against the Cougars at home Saturday.
The tie secured the third seed for the herd in the Prairie Division. Manitoba will travel to UBC or Trinity Western Friday to open the playoffs.
The first half of the game had both teams feeling each other out with just a few chances.
Manitoba came out firing in the second half, with two solid chances coming in the first 10 minutes. Holly Angus got off a clean shot but Regina’s keeper, Kylie Bolton, got just enough of the ball to redirect it off the post and out of play.
The second chance in the opening minutes came from Gabrielle Clark.
Clark shot from just outside the box, but Bolton tipped the powerful shot over the net.
Bolton was in the way all night, as Manitoba outshot Regina 13 to 4.
Wilford made a couple key saves for the home side as well, recording her fifth clean sheet in the last six games.
“We created many chances and were very close to [winning] it, we just couldn’t put it in,” said Martinez Lagunas.
“But we’re happy for the clean sheet and, of course, it’s a good finish for our graduating athletes.”
With this being the final home game of the season, Manitoba celebrated its four graduating players prior to the game.
Wilford, Amanda Wong, Alanna Shaw and Bruna Mavignier were presented with flowers and a picture to remember their time with the herd.
Manitoba finishes the season with a 6-5-3 record. Regina locked down the final Prairie Division playoff spot finishing with a 3-9-2 record.
The Bisons and Cougars will both play in a Canada West playoff play-in game Friday. Opponents and times are still to be determined.