North Okanagan athletes score PacWest honours

Vernon's Kirsten Dodds earns PacWest women's soccer all-star nod.

Sophomore forward Kirsten Dodds of Vernon was one of five UBC Okanagan Heat women’s soccer team players chosen to the Pacific Western Athletic Association (PacWest) first all-star team.

Dodds makes things happen on the pitch with some fancy footwork and slippery play. If she isn’t scoring the goals (she finished with five on the season, good for fifth in the PacWest), she is setting up her teammates.

The other Heat all-star are defender Hayley Carlson (2nd year, Red Deer), fullback Jennifer Kidd (4th year, Richmond), keeper Christine Tallon (3rd year, Kamloops), and freshman midfielder Mairi Horth (Ladysmith).

The men’s soccer team placed third-year midfielder Austin Jones (Vernon) and freshman defender David Yesaya (North York, Ont) on the PacWest second all-star squad.

Carlson and Dodds both avoided the sophomore jinx as both players were elected to the all-star squad in both their rookie and sophomore seasons.

The 7-6-1 Heat allowed only nine goals and the strong backline, anchored by Kidd, is a big part of the team’s stinginess.

Tallon has had an outstanding season with five shutouts in just seven starts, and her 0.29 GAA has her on top of the PacWest leaderboard.

The five Heat women all-stars will be honoured today at the provincial championships in Squamish before their semifinal, at 4:30 p.m. against the host Quest University Kermodes.

The Heat and the Capilano Blues of North Vancouver battled to a frigid 1-1 draw in the final game of the PacWest regular season Sunday at Nonis Field on Sunday.

Capilano connected in the 77th minute off the boot of forward Demmi Skierka (4th year, North Vancouver), but the Heat equalized a few minutes later when sophomore Lana Finley buried a point-blank shot.

“Tough conditions to play in,” said Heat head coach Claire Paterson. “It was looking like it was going to be a 0-0 draw, with the opportunities that we were creating and not finishing and they weren’t getting many chances. We had to fight harder and we clawed back.”

The Heat sailed past the Vancouver Island University Mariners 2-0 Saturday afternoon on the strength of Tallon’s goalkeeping.

Kidd took a rocket shot from outside the box that went soaring right over the Mariner keeper’s outstretched hand to put the Heat up by one.

In the 65th minute, Vernon’s Michelle Smith (2nd year, midfielder) converted a hard blast for the insurance tally.

In men’s soccer, the Heat were all business Sunday as they beat Capilano 4-1 to finish their season.

“I wish we could have scored like that at the start of the year,” mused Heat head coach Dante Zanatta. “Good for the team and for the guys that are graduating. To put four in the goal shows that we’re trying to do the right things and maybe we just didn’t have soccer luck at the start of the year.”

Jones opened the Heat offence with a shot deflected into the Blues’ net off a defender.

Jones made the all-star team by being a tireless worker in training and games, and has played both in midfield and as a striker with a good ability to finish. Jones is seventh in league scoring with six. He accounted for nearly half of the team’s offence this season – many of the breathtaking variety.

Meanwhile, Corey Wallis (2nd year, defender, Enderby) and Sebastian Gardner (3rd year, forward, Vernon) of the Thompson Rivers WolfPack were named to the PacWest second all-star team.

Gardner, who came back from injury and treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, received the Errol Wild Memorial Scholarship along with rookie defender Austin Schneebeli of Sicamous. The award is in honor of longtime WolfPack men’s soccer manager and icon in the Kamloops soccer and rugby communities.