The Heat women’s soccer team set out into unchartered territory for an epic battle on the coast this past weekend (Oct. 23-24), and held their own against the giants of the BCAAA. The event was the playoffs and the venue was Coquitlam Towne Centre, as Douglas College would play host to our women’s soccer team’s first ever playoff berth.
The first gruelling match-up was against a skilled Capilano College team, and remained a tight nil-nil affair until the 82nd minute when Heat scoring leader Alexa Kennedy shattered the defence to blast in the game’s first score. The lead would be short-lived, however, as Capilano would answer back with a goal of their own only 5 minutes later to push the game into extra time. After fourteen gruelling minutes, striker Emma Nixon shook free and made a Bill Gates-sized deposit into the hungry Capilano net, earning our beloved Heat the victory and a berth in the semi-finals.
After the game, coach Claire Peterson had high praise for her players:
“Sabrina (Gasparac) had an outstanding game in net make a couple of very big saves to keep the score even and first year midfielder Amanda Fehr was our stand out player winning the ball in the air and controlling the center of the park.”
In the semis, the Heat would face the mighty Langara Falcons in a true underdog affair, as the Falcons came in as the reigning national champions. This would be a mountainous task for the Heat in their first trip to the Provincials, but they would hold their own in a game that was much closer than the 3-0 score reflected. Unfortunately, the Heat ended up on the losing side which relegated them to facing Thompson Rivers University in the bronze-medal game.
The Heat came into the bronze-medal match holding a slight edge over Thompson Rivers. Although TRU finished higher in the regular season standings, UBC O fared better in their two previous meetings against them, with a win and a draw. However, everything changes in the playoffs and it was TRU who got the victory and the medal after a close, tough battle which ended in a 2-1 score.
Despite coming up just short of provincial success, it was a great opportunity to prove that this team belongs amongst the best in the league. The proved this by defeating one of the best teams, and showed that the UBC Okanagan soccer program is on the rise. Although finishing 4th may leave a bitter taste, they accomplished this with more than half of their players in their first-year. With so many young players, the future for the team is very bright. Look for them to make some serious noise in the years to come.