DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
Even in a loss, Taryn Raabe gave her team a reason to believe on Friday night.
Raabe, a first-year keeper, was spectacular in making her first career Canada West conference start in a 3-1 Winnipeg Wesmen loss to the Regina Cougars in a Canada West conference loss at the Ralph Cantafio Soccer Complex.
Raabe made 12 saves, with more than one being the stand-on-your-head variety that kept the Wesmen in the game and allowed them to preserve a lead late into the second half.
Shae-Lynn Dodds, who led the team with a career- and program-high seven goals in 2018, scored in the 30th minute to put Winnipeg up 1-0. Dodds put the finish on a tremendous run from Jamila Calvez, who sprinted down the right side past defenders and put a cross on to the boots of Dodds, who angled a shot along the ground into the far corner.
The Wesmen managed to hold that lead until the 71st minute when Jet Davies looped a shot over Raabe's outstretched arm and tied the match.
The heartbreak for Winnipeg would come in the 90th minute when Kyra Vibert set up Jessica Merk for the game-winner. Regina (1-0-0) would get another goal in time added on from Olivia Gables in sending Winnipeg to 0-1-0.
"I really had to get into the game first," Raabe said. "It was hard getting so many shots in the first half but as soon as you get some shots you definitely get into the game and the nerves kinda go away.
"I believe we kinda just got tired in the end. It wasn't that we weren't pressuring enough it was just as though we laid back like 1-1 was enough for us. We just gotta keep pushing and not let those runs get through as much."
Regina head coach Bob Maltman felt his team was deserving of three points in the conference-opener.
"It was great with the way our players stuck with things," Maltman said. "We had some really good, quality opportunities throughout the game. Full credit to Winnipeg: Their goalkeeper made some fantastic saves and their defenders were very tight and difficult to get through. But it was great to see that the women stuck with it. We've got a lot of younger athletes on our team and for a couple of them to get goals tonight was good to see."