Women's Soccer: Figuring playoff races in September

This week it's all about playoff races.

It is, of course, just a little early, but it's worth taking a quick look at how the races are shaping up after a month of the short two-month regular season.

We'll start in the OUA, where the playoff race is substantially more interesting than the race for top spot in each conference. Ryerson and Western both lie outside a playoff spot after seven games.

Ryerson's slow start to the season, coupled with games against Toronto and Queen's, is hurting them. They'll need to pick up points against Trent and hapless Nipissing (three points from nine games) to stay in the conversation in the east.

Western, who took Laurier to penalties last year, are finding it hard to get points from anywhere at the moment. The Mustangs haven't scored in three straight.

Laurentian look fairly safe now in the east with a seven point lead over RMC. Things are tighter in the west where Western could catch Brock next weekend when those sides meet. They'll have to score in order to do so.

RSEQ's playoff race is deceptive--it looks close but it probably isn't. Montreal and McGill are running away with things, and Sherbrooke and Laval hold down the remaining two places and neither of those two schools is likely to lose them, although UQTR are hanging around.

The real fireworks remain at the top in Quebec, where Montreal and McGill met this past weekend. McGill's Alexandra Morin-Boucher scored four minutes in, but Isabelle Dumais tied it in the 38th minute.

Then, in proper Montreal fashion, things got chippy. Two yellows came out before Emmanuelle Beliveau-Labrecque was tossed for taking out Morin-Boucher in the box on a break. Martine Julien saved the penalty, and the game ended 1-1. The full game story and some fairly boring coach quotes can be read here.

In Canada West, Saskatchewan and Alberta were set back by Trinity Western, who are back in the top two and pressing Alberta with a game in hand. Melissa Mobilio put the sword to the Huskies with a goal and an assist.

The more remarkable result for TWU was their road win in Edmonton against an Alberta team that looked nearly impossible to beat. Nikki Wright drew a penalty and Colleen Webber scored it for a 1-0 win that, according to this report, Kristen Funk pretty much won on her own. Of course.

The University of Fraser Valley Cascades continue their tumble out of a playoff spot and are now winless in four, having being held to a road draw by Lethbridge. One could be forgiven for expecting a little more of the national bronze medallists. They did open the season with two wins, but that seems like awhile ago now.

The AUS conference defies figuring. UNB, who were down and out last week, outscored opponents 9-1 this weekend, including a 6-1 win over a Moncton team that had held UPEI and Dalhousie to 1-0 wins. That's thrown UNB back into contention for a playoff spot they don't need, as hosts.

More shockingly, Cape Breton suddenly find themselves in fifth after a tough 3-2 loss to Dal and a shocking 1-0 loss to Saint Mary's. Beth O'Reilly won the game for Dal after looping an improbable, perfect and completely intentional chip shot over Tiffany O'Donnell from only 20 yards out.

UPEI and Dal both have tough games next weekend which might make things even tighter. As it stands, we can pretty much say Moncton are out after an 0-5 start to the season, and Acadia will join them soon unless they improve.
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