The UBC Okanagan Heat shaded the Langara Falcons of Vancouver 3-2 Sunday morning in the bronze-medal game of the 2013 PacWest provincial women’s soccer championships in Nanaimo.
It was the fourth year in a row the Heat garnered a medal, earning silver the last two provincials.
“We are so proud of the team. They showed great character after a tough loss and battled hard in the game against Langara,” said Ashlee Davison, who handled most of the coaching duties this weekend for an ill Claire Paterson (came down with food poisoning Friday night).
It took only a few minutes for junior forward Kirsten Dodds (Vernon) to make her presence felt as she connected in the 14th minute on an unassisted goal that came at the end of an incredible run down the side, losing three defenders in the process.
Langara scored two minutes in off a goofy bounce with the heavy winds causing confusion for keeper Christine Tallon.
Dodds, who scored in the 70th minute in the Heat’s 3-1 loss to the Quest Kermodes of Squamish in Saturday’s semifinals, was named Top Forward in the provincials.
When told of Dodds’ award, Davison remarked that it was “well deserved; she was exceptional in both games and had the weekend of her season. Few defenders were able to strip her of the ball.
Paterson, who watched Sunday’s action from the sideline, said: “Dodds was having a fantastic match.”
It was 1-0 Heat at the break versus Langara before three-time provincial all-star, Hayley Carlson, was the benefactor of Lindsey Brigg’s onslaught (she struck one post and was stoned by the keeper on another chance) as she put the Heat up 2-1 with a long-range goal after a corner and a save.
Langara scored the equalizer on a penalty kick midway through the second half.
Midfielder Mairi Horth, playing in the championship close to her hometown of Ladysmith, aggressively took the ball down the flank to find Briggs for the winner just before the final whistle.
Davison was pleased with how the team captains stepped up their play as midfielder Marissa Klees (4th year, Bellingham) “set the tone for the weekend with her incredible work ethic and never-say-die attitude.”
Hayley Carlson (3rd year, Red Deer), the other captain, “was a force to be reckoned with for other team’s offensive players, and she was our rock at the back,” the fill-in head coach noted.
The win was emotional since six members of the team were playing their last match in a Heat uniform.
“Our seniors, somewhat emotional, stepped up as leaders and showed great poise and determination,” said Davison.
The Thompson Rivers WolfPack of Kamloops struck gold by stopping the Kermodes 1-0.
Both the men’s and the women’s soccer teams from UBC’s Okanagan campus will play the 2014 season in the Canada West conference of the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport).