Sunday, October 23rd, 2016
Nonis Field, Kelowna, BC
SCORING 1 2 FINAL Regina (5-6-3) 0 1 1 UBC Okanagan (4-9-1) 0 0 0
KELOWNA, BC -- The University of Regina Cougars defeated the UBC Okanagan Heat in women’s soccer competition Sunday afternoon at Nonis Sports Field in Kelowna.
In the final regular season game for both teams, the Heat were shut out by the Cougars by a final score of 1-0. The University of Regina side was playing for an improved playoff position, and with the win will move up into fourth place in Canada West’s Prairie division.
The only goal of the match came moments before the final whistle, when third year Cougars forward Brianna Wright netted her second of the season past third year Heat keeper Francesca Balleta, who replaced Serrano after half-time. Wright received a well-placed breakout pass from Shayla Kapila, and after Balleta stopped her first attempt with an aggressive sliding save, Wright was able to corral the rebound and chip it past a racing Heat defender and into the middle of the net.
With the 1-0 victory in their final game, the Regina Cougars moved up a spot in the divisional standings, passing the Mount Royal Cougars, who also won their final game of the season on Sunday, defeating the UNBC Timberwolves 3-0. Had MRU won and Regina lost, then Regina would have stayed in fifth in the Prarie division and faced MacEwan, who finished second in the division.
As for the Heat, there were no playoff implications in their final game of 2016, as they were already locked into the sixth place spot in the divisional playoff round.
The first half of Sunday’s match-up between the Heat and the Cougars saw no scoring, although both keepers were forced to make a number of saves. The best chance for UBC Okanagan came early in the contest, when first year midfielder Kylee Walker had an open shot after a long lead pass into the penalty area, but put her strike high and over the crossbar.
For the University of Regina, the best scoring opportunity of the opening 45 minutes came on a shot from fourth year midfielder Shayla Kapila in the 41st minute. Kapila put a good strike on net from just inside the penalty area, but first year Heat keeper Caralina Serrano made a diving save to her left to keep the ball out of the net.
In total, Serrano made four saves in the first half and fifth year Cougars keeper Kacey McFee made two, keeping the game scoreless at the break.
Aside from the goal, the best scoring chance for the Cougars came in the 61st minute, when second year midfielder Brigit Sinaga put a curling shot on a path for the top right corner before it was stopped with a spectacular leaping save by Balleta.
The best second-half chance for the Heat came in the 75th minute. Fourth year midfielder Andrea Stinson won the ball out of a scramble at the edge of the 18-yard box, and managed to sneak a shot through the crowd toward the bottom right corner. McFee made her most impressive save of the match on the play, diving to her left and just getting a hand on the ball.
Prior to the beginning of the game the Heat held their annual ceremony to honour members of the team who are graduating. The two Heat players recognized this year were fourth year defender Devon Fleming and fourth year midfielder Katie Smillie.
Smillie was also named UBC Okanagan’s MVP of the match, while Regina gave their match MVP award to third year midfielder Nikita Senko.
With the 2016 Canada West regular season finished, the next game for both the Heat and the Cougars will be in the playoffs. With the standings finalized, the UBC Okanagan Heat (Pacific 6) will play next when they travel to play the Trinity Western Spartans (Pacific 1) on Saturday, October 29. Game time is set for 4 p.m. PT at Chase Office Field in Langley.
The Heat and the Spartans last met on September 25 at Nonis Sports Field in Kelowna. The only game between the two teams this season was a 3-0 victory for Trinity Western. Since UBC Okanagan joined Canada West in 2014, they hold a record of 0-3-1 against the Spartans. The goal comparison over those four games is 14-4 in favour of the reigning national silver-medalists from Trinity Western.
The University of Regina Cougars (Prairie 4) will also play their next game on Saturday, when they will travel to Saskatoon to play the University of Saskatchewan Huskies (Prairie 3).
~ Grayson Leahy, UBC Okanagan Heat
Two graduating players play last games at UBC Okanagan
The soccer season closed this Sunday at the Nonis turf for UBC Okanagan soccer teams after the women finished their match against the University of Regina. Prior to the to the team introductions the Assistant Director of Athletics and Recreation here at UBC's Okanagan campus, Lucia Boersma honoured the pair of graduating players with a few words as they were presented with a large framed photo and flowers from heir team.
Devon Fleming (MID, Burnaby, BC) and Katie Smillie (DEF, Delta, BC) have each called it a career for the UBC Okanagan women's soccer program and will hang up the cleats and put away the blue and gold of the Heat after today.
Katie Smillie - is a graduate of Delta Secondary and is working towards completion of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Katie’s commitment to her team and the student-athlete and varsity athletic experience at UBC Okanagan has made her an invaluable member of the UBC Okanagan athletics community.
The future nurse has devoted countless hours to projects and initiates to aid the community as well as the student athletes. A strong contributor of the HAC (Heat Athlete Council) Katie has been a driving force in many HAC events, is in the stands or working for all varsity events she is not an active part of.
Beyond the athletes and the varsity teams she has been active with the nurses’ course union, organizing blood drives, 24 hour relays and other projects for all students or the community.
Katie was one of two student MC’s to host the annual athletic banquet – the first ever time a student hosted in 2014.
Katie brings and enormous amount of passion and heart to the dressing room and provides a sense of care where she is always there to lend a helping hand to her teammates, she will be greatly missed by her teammates and coaches.
Q & A with Katie:
What were your thoughts going into today’s game knowing it would be your final game at home?
Katie: “I was pretty nervous, I haven’t played in a lot of games at home. This is actually my second game playing at home so I was just kind of wanted to enjoy it and take it all in and just and really just live in the moment. It was a lot of fun and we’ve seen like all our seniors before us do it so we know how the day goes and how precious it is. You only get so many seasons and so many games so yeah I think we just wanted to make the most of it. We had our family and friends out here today. It was really nice.”
What was your favourite memory looking back on your four years at UBC Okanagan with your team?
Katie: “I think that when we won the PACWEST bronze medal. That day, that was the first game I got to play in when we beat Langara in the bronze medal match. I think that was a really cool day at provincials."
What are your thoughts knowing that you were one of the few to go from playing in the PACWest Division and into Canada West with the Heat?
Katie: “I think it was an interesting time Devon and I joined the program because we were here for that transition. But it’s been so great seeing us build from the college league to now going to the playoffs for the first time. I think it’s been really amazing seeing what the program's capable of and I fully expect that it will just continue to take off from here.”
What are your thoughts going into your first ever Canada West playoff matchup?
Katie: “Yeah it is our first time but I’m just so proud of the team, we’ve worked really really hard this year. But we are going into the lion’s den. We're playing a team that’s been undefeated this season so I think it’s going to ask of us stuff that we’ve never asked our teammates before. We’re really going to have to dig deep but anything's possible in the playoffs.”
Devon has tallied one very significant goal over her Heat career. In her rookie season her pinpoint blast from 25 yards out would sneak just under the crossbar on Oct. 13, 2013 and proved to be both the game-winner and the goal that sent the Heat back to the playoffs.
Devon has been a steady presence in the midfield for the Heat right out of high school in 2013. She played in 45 of a possible 52 matches over the four years at UBC Okanagan.
She was the first women’s soccer player to receive the prestigious Capri Insurance Athletics Entrance Scholarship. The scholarship is an endowed award donated by Capri Insurance for a UBC Okanagan varsity player coming straight from secondary school. Candidates must demonstrate stellar athletic achievement and academic excellence.
Last spring Devon was one of two student MC’s to host the annual athletic banquet and has been one of the team captains this season.
Devon is one who leads by example and is very highly respected by both her teammates and coaches. She will be sadly missed in the dressing room with her sense of wit and humour.
Q & A with Devon:
What were your thoughts going into today’s game knowing it would be your final game at home?
Devon: “It’s kind of weird cause, as Katie said you’re used to seeing all the seniors go through it but it’s just a part of it you know? You prep for it like it’s a regular game and I guess now after the game it gets kind of sad. But before that I was just focused on results you know, doing our best.”
What was your favourite memory looking back on your four years at UBC Okanagan with your team on the pitch?
Devon: “I know it sounds selfish but when I scored that game winning goal! I know I need to say something about the team but no, that was it! It was a lot of fun and it was really nice.”
While Devon was mentioning her game winning goal, Katie chimed in and said, “when she scored that I just bawled my eyes out.”
What was your favourite memory looking back on your four years at UBC Okanagan with your team off of the pitch?
Devon: “We have a lot! I live with three of the girls on the team right, so pretty much every day is in itself an adventure. We do pretty much everything together, like Thanksgiving we spend together, over Christmastime we will have Christmas parties and dinners, Easter egg hunts. So it’s really nice, especially for me because this isn’t my hometown, a family away from your family - someone to celebrate holidays with and all that good stuff."
You coming into the program at the exact same time as Katie, how was the transition for you from the college league and into the Canada West?
Devon: “It was nice, I think it was a nice transition. I mean going from the college level to the CIS was still a bit of a shocker so I can’t imagine going straight into it from high school. I think it was a nice transition that few teams and few players get to have. You get a little bit of confidence under your belt and then you get to go onto the big leagues as I would call them.”
What are your thoughts going into your first ever Canada West playoff series?
Devon: “I’m excited. It’s nice to go out at the very least on a program first. It’s always nice to set the mark and hopefully for the years to come maybe playoffs won’t even be a second thought, they will be something that happens every year from here on out. Hopefully that’s something we set the precedent for. It’s just really nice to make that accomplishment, because that was one of our goals at the beginning of the year and it’s nice to have hit that goal and now obviously the next goal is gonna be to do well against Trinity - the death match.”