Fury hunts for elusive W-League crown

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:12 AM ET

Nobody needs to do the math for the Ottawa Fury.

The games that count the most for the W-League side have finally arrived. They're at home for one final bow tonight in a sudden-death playoff matchup with the Toronto Lady Lynx at Keith Harris Stadium (6 p.m.).

Add it all up, and there's an air of excitement among the Fury as they take one more serious kick at reaching the pinnacle of W-League soccer.

"It's playoff time!" veteran midfielder Leah Robinson said yesterday with a definite tone of excitement in her voice as she talked about tonight's match, which will determine the Northern Division representative in this weekend's Eastern Conference championship tournament.

"We're just really excited and ready to play. Everyone is focused and ready to get it done this time."

Getting it done, of course, means only one thing for this side, which has finished fourth, third and second at the past three W-League North American finals.

"For the players who have been here the last three years, (winning a championship) is always in the back of your head," said Robinson, 24, of Lower Sackville, N.S. "We know it's not a given, going 4-3-2-1.

"Nobody's going to just hand it to us. It's going to take everything we have just to get to the final."

TOUGH CHALLENGE

Make no mistake about it, though. The Fury aren't looking past the improved Lady Lynx, who've played Ottawa tough this season. The Fury won 2-1 at home on Canada Day, then the teams played to a 1-1 draw on Sunday in Toronto.

"They're a lot more physical this year," Robinson said. "They're very competitive, they never stop and they go to the end. It'll be a big challenge for us."

The Fury won the Northern Division with a 10-1-1 record, with the Lady Lynx right behind at 7-1-4. Most importantly for the Fury, they went a perfect 6-0-0 at home and surrendered only one goal.

"(Playing at home) is a huge advantage for us," said Robinson, who shared the Fury's goal-scoring lead (seven) with Annie Hamel this season. "We've had really good turnouts at our games this year, and the fan support has been great."

The four-team Eastern Conference final goes Friday and Sunday at Mercer Community College, the home pitch of the defending champion New Jersey Wildcats.

Only the winner advances to the W-League final the following weekend in Vancouver.


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