The UBC Okanagan Heat won a medal as the host team in the PACWEST provincial championship on Sunday; it just may have been the wrong colour, silver instead of gold. The Heat fell to the Thompson Rivers WolfPack 2-1 in extra time; this marks the second year in a row that the Heat has medaled at provincials, earning a bronze in 2010.
The WolfPack’s Championship MVP, midfielder Alanna Bekkering (3rd year, Kamloops, BC) was the difference today in the Heat falling to the WolfPack.
Bekkering scored the game winner in the ninth minute of the first overtime half with a blast from her left leg after shaking off three UBC Okanagan defenders. The high hard shot sailed past Heat keeper Sabrina Gasparac (4th year, Langley, BC) for the second time in the match.
Bekkering also scored the other goal for the WolfPack (the first goal of the game) in the 42nd minute when she took the ball down the left side and hit the far corner of the top of the goal with a strong left foot from just outside the 18 yard box.
The Heat dominated the play for most of the first half with numerous chances to score; Emily Braun (3rd year, midfielder, Calgary, AB) got the ball at the top of the 18 yard box and fired a bullet which just went wide right. Soon after in the 40th minute, fullback Sharon Kersey (4th year, Richmond, BC) had a free kick that resulted in a scramble in front of TRU keeper Emily Edmundson (2nd year, Kamloops, BC).
“It worried me a little bit in the first half when UBC Okanagan came out so strong,” said TRU head coach Tom McManus, whose club had handed the Heat their only loss during the regular season. “They are a super team. They pressured us a bit in first half but we came back.”It took the Heat until the 88th minute before they were able to finally scratch a goal across as forward Lindsey Briggs (2nd year, Delta, BC) was able to finish on a scramble in front of the net.
UBC Okanagan had a brilliant chance to tie the game in extra time as well when first year midfielder Anna Merino had a good look at the goal but her shot went just wide a few seconds before the final whistle blew.
Thompson Rivers coach McManus could not be more positive about the Heat. “UBC [Okanagan] came out great. They’re a super team, they pressured us a lot. This game staked up very highly. It’s great for TRU and great for the players; I’m very happy with the results.”
The WolfPack now head onto the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Championships starting November 9th in Quebec. They are being hosted by FX Garneau.
The Heat have no fifth year players on their squad and will lose only Sharon Kersey to graduation.
UBC Okanagan placed two players on the tournament all-star team as Hayley Carlson (1st year, Red Deer, AB) was named best defender for the tournament, while Taylor Sarchet (3rd year, Surrey, BC) was named best midfielder.
GAME NOTES: The Heat were without leading scorer Kirsten Dodds for the match. She had been taken to the hospital from an injury during the semi-finals. She was at the match, just not dressed to participate.