The Laurentian Voyageurs women's soccer team proved to be a quick study, even before the official start of classes for 2014-2015.
Just a week after dropping a pair of exhibition games by a combined score of 9-0, the Voyageur ladies tightened things up quite a bit defensively, picking up four key points on the road in a pair of weekend games in Toronto.
Laurentian went back to the drawing board before facing the powerful University of Toronto Blues, playing to a scoreless draw thanks, in part, to a revised game-plan and some solid execution on the part of the squad.
"The team executed the defensive counter attack system to a T," said head coach Rob Gallo on Saturday evening.
Veteran Richele Greenwood picked up the shutout, with Gallo planning a more wide-open strategy on Sunday versus the Ryerson Rams.
Early on, the approach paid dividends. Samantha Selkirk and Megan Ferguson put the Voyageurs up 2-0 with the contest not yet 12 minutes old.
Unfortunately, that only seemed to awaken the Rams, who pressured relentlessly and were rewarded with markers from Alex Rodkin (penalty kick) and Soraya El-houri, with the teams deadlocked at 2-2 at the half.
While both teams had chances in the final 45 minutes, the score remained unchanged until the visitors caught a break in extra time, awarded a penalty kick.
Defender Amy Fitzgerald would make no mistake, sending the troops back on to the bus as a very happy lot following a big 3-2 win.
The Laurentian men were not nearly as fortunate, facing the Toronto tandem that many are expecting to finish 1-2 in the OUA East this year. While the Voyageurs managed to put two on the board, with both Omar Alison and rookie Dean Pizolinas coming through against Toronto, the offense wasn't nearly enough to avoid a 5-2 loss.
Russell Rodrigues, Dapo Afolayan, Jason Cordeiro, Killian Elkinson and Nikolay Saveliev all scored for the Blues before the Voyageurs countered with a pair in the final 30 minutes.
Learning their lesson, the LU lads utilized a more "defence-first" approach on Sunday, and while it did not equate to victory, a 1-0 loss to the Ryerson Rams is a more than respectable result.
Both the soccer men and women head to Kingston next weekend, facing the Queen's Gaels on Saturday before tackling the Royal Military College (RMC) Paladins on Sunday.
Home openers are the following weekend against the Ottawa Gee Gees and Carleton Ravens.