Heat fired up to stay undefeated on last league game of the season

Graduating striker Emma Nixon of the Heat. (Photo by Rob Brown)

After clinching first place overall and a first round bye in the upcoming BCCAA provincial championships on Saturday it looked like the final regular season game of 2010 for the UBC Okanagan Heat would not provide an incentive to play hard. Yet unlike the Indianapolis Colts the Heat women’s soccer team played their last game like every other as they felt garnering the undefeated season could really make a statement for how far the Heat soccer program has come in the few short years since Claire Paterson has taken over. Like every week this season the Heat took the field and did not lose as they defeated the Douglas College Royals 2-0 for their tenth win of the season, the Heat finished the regular season with a 10 win, 0 loss, 2 tie record, best in the BCCAA and best ever at UBC Okanagan.

Sunday’s game saw the Royal’s early on have a chance to draw first blood as Douglas put a dangerous cross into the Heat penalty area which almost made its way into the net as an own goal but Heat center back Jennifer Kidd headed the ball off the line.  Both teams continued to work to gain the upper hand but with the shot tally relatively even the game remained scoreless at the half.

In the second half Douglas pressed hard working to keep their playoff hopes alive and conjured up several dangerous shots in which 3rd year goalkeeper Sabrina Gasparac did well to deny.  UBC Okanagan finally broke onto the scoreboard in the 50th minute when Alexa Kennedy pounced on a rebound off of Madeleine Grieg’s shot and knocked it into the back of the net for her 13th goal of the season.

Holly Wollmann with a lethal cross. (Photo by Rob Brown)

The Heat captured their second goal of the match when a penalty shot was awarded after a Douglas handball in the box.  Graduating co-captain Emma Nixon was given the penalty kick in her last home game and she clinically blasted the shot by the keeper for her first league goal of 2010.  Despite the Royals best effort to spoil the Heat’s undefeated season the UBC Okanagan women’s soccer team defended their home turf for the final time of 2010 and at the final whistle it remained 2-0 Heat.

Following 2009 in which the Heat made their very first Provincial Championship appearance 2010 has been another large step in the women’s soccer program. This break out year for Claire Paterson and her program include a 10 wins, 2 ties, 0 loss league record with an amazing 9 shut outs recorded by keeper Sabrina Gasparac, as well as producing the league’s leading goal scorer in Alexa Kennedy whom notched 13 goals in 12 games.

Head coach Claire Paterson on Sunday had a chance to look at a few more player combinations before provincials next weekend in Surrey added “I am happy with our win today it is a great finish to our regular season and I am looking forward to Provincials.”

Co-captain Liz Babcock, a strong member of the Heat’s backline all season long added, “By finishing today with an undefeated season was way more than any of us ever expected, but we truly earned it.  We battled so hard for every game and that is really apparent in the results we have had so far.  Moving forward our momentum is stronger than ever and we're really excited for the challenges of next weekend."

The Heat travel to Surrey on Friday as they have a bye in the first round of the 2010 BCCAA provincial championships. Championship website: http://bccaa.ca/2010soccer/

UBC Okanagan will play the winner of the Langara Falcon, Thompson Rivers Wolfpack match on this Saturday October 30th at 12:00pm.

All matches will be held at the new artificial turf soccer field, Newton Athletic Park, Surrey BC.

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