The UBC Okanagan Heat women’s soccer team received an early goal from freshman scoring sensation Kirsten Dodds (Vernon, BC) to take a big step towards securing an automatic berth to the provincial championship semi-final. The Heat went on to win 2-0 over the Vancouver Island University Mariners in Nanaimo, B.C today.
With the win the Heat’s record improves to (7-1-2) and the Mariners fall to (5-5-0). As a result of the Thompson Rivers WolfPack and the Capilano Blues playing to a 1-1 draw, the Heat have now clinched the first round bye in the provincial championship.
UBC took little time in demonstrating their desire to win this game as Kirsten Dodds found a way to score with the game less than ten minutes old. Dodds dangled her way through the Mariner defence and then finished the play with a deadly left footed shot.
Despite the cold and rainy conditions, the Heat eventually settled into the first half. By the final minutes of the first 45 had created many opportunities, knocking the ball around nicely and playing to feet.
UBC Okanagan came out strong in the first minutes of the second half, attempting to increase their lead, but could not do so as the Mariners counterattacked the Heat’s offense with a charge of their own.
The Mariners were continually stopped by the strong Heat defence, made up by veteran Jennifer Kidd (3rd year, Richmond, BC), Sharon Kersey (4th year, Richmond, BC), and Elizabeth Babcock (4th year, Calgary AB), along with first year defender Hayley Carlson (Red Deer, AB).
However, the Mariners were not ready to give in quite yet, creating dangerous situations in the middle of the park and forcing Heat goalkeeper Sabrina Gasparac (4th year, Langley, BC), to make a few game changing saves.
Jennifer Kidd secured the Heat’s win with a beautiful strike 30 yards out at the 73rd minute, bringing the well fought game to a close.
“The team played well today in pretty difficult conditions,” comments head coach Claire Paterson. “With the slippery field, players lost their footing quite often but they battled through and came out with a great result. Sabrina made a couple of fantastic saves to keep the Mariners from closing the gap early in the second half.”
“We stepped up and played a really physical game today,” adds veteran defender Elizabeth Babcock. “We fought hard to win every ball, and despite being a bit frantic in the middle of the second half we came out with a well deserved win.”
The Heat will now wait until the season finishes up to find out their possible semi-final matchup at the upcoming provincial championship. The Heat will either play at 10:30 a.m. or at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 29 for a chance to move into the gold medal game on Sunday. All of the live championship soccer action will take place on the Nonis Sports Field on UBC’s Okanagan campus.