It was a rivalry bout on the pitch this week as the U of M Bisons women’s soccer team and University of Winnipeg Wesmen went head-to-head. The herd swept the series with back-to-back shutouts.
While both games mattered in the standings, Saturday’s match mattered more as it was part of the 28th annual Duckworth Challenge.
The challenge is a rivalry series played between Bison Sports and Wesmen Athletics, with the five game series being played over soccer, basketball and volleyball events. Manitoba has dominated in the 28 year event with a 14-7-6 record.
The Bisons defeated the Winnipeg Wesmen 2-0 Thursday to open the two-game local series. Bruna Mavignier led the way, scoring both goals for the herd.
The win snapped a three-game Bisons losing skid.
Manitoba got on the board early when Mavignier headed home a cross pass from Hailey Lavarias in the 14th minute. The herd got on the scoreboard again in the 69th minute when Mavignier one-timed a pass from Nicole Davis.
Mavignier is now tied with Davis for the team lead in goals with three.
Madison Wilford recorded her first shutout of the season and had a solid game in net for Manitoba. She stopped all five shots that came her way throughout the match, which also included a stopped penalty kick.
Bison head coach Vanessa Martinez Lagunas was happy with her team’s performance Thursday night.
“I think the team played really well overall in the full match and we finished the chances we needed to,” Laguanas told Bison Sports.
Saturday: The Duckworth Challenge
After a day of rest the two clubs were back at it on Saturday. The Bisons defeated the Wesmen by a score of 1-0 at Investors Group Field, sweeping the series.
The win also gives the University of Manitoba a 1-0 lead in the 28th edition of the Duckworth Challenge.
“We just want to help our university recover that cup,” Martinez Lagunas said postgame.
“We did it, we got that first win and we’re very happy.”
Lavarias scored her second goal of the season in the 68th minute of the game. She received a pass from Amanda Wong and lobbed the ball over Wesmen goalkeeper Madison Fordyce’s head for the 1-0 Bisons lead and eventually the win.
Wilford was stellar in net once again for Manitoba, recording her second consecutive shutout. She did not face many shots but made a couple big saves to help her team win.
“Amazing,” Lagunas said of Wilford’s play. “I’m so proud of her.”
Madison Fordyce also had a good game in net for the Wesmen. Fordyce stopped five of six shots, including one in the 27th minute that she tipped just enough that it hit the crossbar and went over the net.
The match was played just two days after their previous one and Manitoba’s coach was proud of how her team responded on short rest.
“They pushed and were determined to get the six points this weekend,” Lagunas said. “It was very important for us to get the sweep.”
This is the first time the Bisons won back-to-back games this season and the club is looking to carry that momentum into next weekend when they play the UBC Okanagan Heat.
“We had good goals, good defensive work and we need to build on that for the remainder of this season’s games,” said Lagunas.
The herd improved to 4-4-2 with the win, while the Wesmen fell to 0-6-4 in the Canada West standings. Manitoba now sits two points back of the Mount Royal Cougars for third place in the prairie divison.
The herd will be back in action on Saturday, Oct.13 as they travel to B.C. to take on the UBC Okanagan Heat at 3 p.m. PDT. They travel to Kamloops the next day to face the Thompson River Wolfpack at 3 p.m. PDT.