UBC Okanagan women’s soccer claim first ever provincial medal

For keeper Sabrina Gasparac’s super human efforts in the first half she was named the ‘Booster Juice’ Player of the Game. (Photo by Rob Brown)

UBC Okanagan has never won a medal in women’s soccer and the men’s team did capture a Western Canadian championship back in 1982 but provincial medals of any kind for the soccer program have not been easy to earn and this is why the accomplishment of this team is so significant. Playing in the bronze medal match versus the Vancouver Island University Mariners on Sunday the UBC Okanagan women's soccer team once again made history by winning the first ever medal for Heat women’s soccer.

After a disappointing loss the day before in penalty shoot outs the previously undefeated Heat had to regroup themselves for their final game of their 2010 campaign.  This game was important to a team that had their season’s hopes dashed just twenty four hours before. The Heat did not play their best game of the year but the team was able to get the job done and come home with a medal.

The first half the Heat were out of sorts and struggled defensively as the Mariners applied very high pressure and hemmed UBC Okanagan in their own half.  VIU outshot the Heat  20 - 0 and notched 2 goals by half time, things looked very bleak for the Heat but the Heat’s all-star keeper, Sabrina Gasparac made save after incredible save to kept the game within reach.  Determined not to let that poor half of play define the team, the Heat came out regrouped and re-focussed determined to make something positive offensively happen in the second half.  Madeleine Greig sparked the Heats offence in the second half as she scored a quick goal just 3 minutes into the second half as Jennifer Kidd found her with a great cross. Now within one goal an inspired Heat squad remounted their efforts and continued to fight for another goal. A strong effort by first year striker Kelsey Satterfield inside the Mariner eighteen yard box earned the Heat a penalty shot.  Jennifer Kidd stepped up to the plate and decisively hammered the ball into the back of the net tying the game up. Vancouver Island battled to get the go ahead goal and just about did in the 80th minute when a shot was rocketed off the cross bar however at the end of regulation time the score remained tied 2-2.

Third year player Sydney Nakazawa hits the medal clinching kick versus the Mariners. (Photo by Rob Brown)

BCCAA rules the Bronze medal games go straight to penalty shoot out.  With the taste of the shoot out loss the day before lingering the Heat were determined to redeem themselves.  VIU was up first and slotted their first shot into the net.  Jennifer Kidd was first up for the Heat and again clinically scored.  VIU next two shooters rattled their shots off the cross bar opening the door for UBC Okanagan to claim their first ever provincial medal.  First year defender Kira Byers scored her second penalty kick of the weekend and Kelsey Satterfield also put away her effort. The final shot rested on the shoulders of third year player Sydney Nakazawa who could put it out of reach for the Mariners, Sydney calmly and confidently buried her shot. Sydney was happy her team could come all the way back adding, "it was awesome to see our team pull together and come back from 2-0 to win and to bring back a medal for our great season."

Penalty kick specialist Kira Byers liked the way the Heat battled all the way back saying, "we had a rough first half and let in some goals that should have been prevented, but we worked hard for each other in the second half, and dug ourselves out of the hole as a team.  We were able to comeback because we are such a hard working unit that fights for each other.  Regardless of the rough start, we figured it out, and at the end of the game came out on top."

Claire Paterson sums it up saying "It is a crazy game - we played really well on Saturday and lost then we turn around and have one of the worst 45 minutes all season and manage to pull out a win.  I am really glad the team turned things around in the second half and managed to pull through."

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