Provincial elite Gryphs make changes to tie GS United

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – Second-half adjustments by the Guelph Gryphons paid off as they secured a 1-1 standoff with Glen Shields United in Ontario Women’s Soccer League Provincial Elite play Tuesday night at the Gryphon Soccer Complex.

“It’s a good result,” Gryphons coach Shayne Campbell said. “The first half, they really pulled us in all directions. The speed of play, their movement was exceptional and we really got pulled and stretched. We would say we were chasing shadows, that’s how good they were the first half. I thought we defended the box very well, but they had a lot of penetration. We made a couple of changes at halftime and credit to the team. It was a full team effort.”

GS United controlled the majority of the play in the first half while the Gryphons had the ball in their guests’ end of the field more in the second half.

“In the second half we made it more difficult for them and rushed them in areas they weren’t comfortable with,” Campbell said. “If someone came in the second half, they wouldn’t have noticed. First half, they could’ve ended up 3-nil on us pretty quick if we didn’t watch it. I was pretty happy to get in at one and then be able to do what we needed to do.”

The halftime changes made by the Gryphons weren’t major ones.

“We just changed a little bit of the shape,” Campbell said. “We wanted to protect our flanks a bit more, the outside. They had really good penetration outside and we had a hard time closing it down. We made a little adjustment and then it came out from there.”

Maxine Murchie struck for GS United’s lone goal 32 minutes into the game while Danielle Sauve pulled the Gryphons even 31 minutes into the second half.

The result leaves both the Gryphs and GS United with a win and a tie on the season.

“It’s a good start to the season,” Campbell said. “When you have really good people who are committed to being their best, that’s what happens. They’re all the way and they’re doing an awesome job.”

The Gryphs are a fairly veteran squad with few changes from last season.

“We have a couple of additions. Each year you have a couple of new players come in,” Campbell said. “We’re a young team and I feel really proud of them. That’s an Ontario Cup-winning team (GS United). That’s a team that goes to Nationals pretty much every year and, I feel, taking the game to them in the second half having survived the first half was a real credit to the squad.”

Campbell will coach many of the players after the end of league play as several of them are also members of the University of Guelph’s varsity team that he was named coach of early this spring.

“About half of them are,” Campbell said. “It’s a good chance for us to keep continuity and to keep that voice. It’s an opportunity for us to continue a bit of work in the off season when the pressure’s not as great as it is in the varsity season.”

As for the summer squad, they’ve set high goals for themselves in the OWSL’s top league.

“I think the goal for this year is to compete for the top spot in this league,” Campbell said. “I think the girls are working their way toward it. There are no easy games in this league. It’s very difficult to play every night. Every night is a real competition, but I think our goal has to be to finish at the top. We’re doing our best to get ourselves there.”

Next game for the Guelph side is Tuesday when they’re to tangle with Niagara United (0-1-1) at St. Catharines starting at 9 p.m.