The Thompson Rivers WolfPack edged the UBC Okanagan Heat 2-1 in extra time, in the PACWEST provincial gold-medal women’s soccer final Saturday at Nonis Field in Kelowna.
Lindsey Briggs scored for the Heat, who won a bronze medal last year. The WolfPack now head to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Championships starting Nov. 9 in Quebec. They are being hosted by FX Garneau.
The WolfPack’s MVP, midfielder Alanna Bekkering was the difference in the gold-medal match. Bekkering scored the 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.
Bekkering also scored the other goal for the WolfPack 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 got the ball at the top of the 18 and fired a bullet which just went wide right. Soon after in the 40th minute, fullback Sharon Kersey had a free kick that resulted in a scramble in front of TRU keeper Emily Edmundson.
“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 Briggs finished on a scramble in front of the net.
The Heat 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.
The Heat have no fifth-year players and will lose only Sharon Kersey to graduation. They placed two players on the tournament all-star team: Hayley Carlson was named best defender, while Taylor Sarchet was named best midfielder.
The Heat were without leading scorer Kirsten Dodds of Vernon for the match. She had been taken to the hospital from an injury during the semifinals. Michelle Smith of Vernon is also with the Heat.
Meanwhile, the Mt. Royal University Cougars of Calgary earned a silver medal in the ACAC provincial soccer final after falling 1-0 to the NAIT Ooks of Edmonton, the No. 1 ranked team in the CCAC.
Vernon’s Monica Neilson was awarded Player of the Game for her goal-stopping in central defence for the Cougars.
The Heat’s men’s volleyball team swept the weekend series with the Winnipeg Wesman in four sets, (25-21, 21-25, 25-15, 26-24) Saturday at the UBC campus.