They couldn’t have gone out any better way. Playing in their final match in PACWEST, the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women’s soccer team captured their third straight league title.
TRU sweeper, 150 Mile House fourth-year player Laura Smylie, was named the Playoff MVP.
The WolfPack, who move to CIS in 2014 downed the Quest Kermodes 1-0 at Mariner Field in Nanaimo on Sunday. It was the first time in three years TRU won the gold medal in regulation time.
“The girls did what they had to do,” said WolfPack head coach Tom McManus, a three time PACWEST coach of the year.
“The conditions were similar to what we faced at last years Nationals in Prince Edward Island — a howling wind. But the girls were smart and efficient and did their job.”
The lone goal of the match came in the 38th minute. PACWEST all-star Kelsey Martin (second year, midfield, Kamloops) took a corner kick from the left side of the field. Katie Sparrow (third year, forward, Kamloops) was able to put the ball past Quest keeper Tiana Gilchrist (North Vancouver). It was Sparrow’s second goal in as many matches.
In the second half, Quest pressed the WolfPack trying to score the equalizer.
“The wind was definitely a factor,” McManus said.
“At one point, we were buzzing around their net and Gilchrist made a save off Alanna Bekkering (fifth year, midfield, Kamloops). Both looked at each other and shook their head because of the wind gusts.”
Emily Edmundson (fourth year, keeper, Kamloops) got the shutout.
“She came up with a few big saves, especially late for us,” McManus added.
Bekkering, for her play in the tournament, was named top midfielder.
Smylie, meanwhile, had a hat trick in the team’s semifinal victory over Langara on Saturday.
“Laura looked puzzled when they announced her name,” the TRU coach laughed.
“I think she thought they read out the wrong name. But she was so consistent all weekend and came up with the big kicks when we needed them.”
When asked to compare his three championship teams, McManus said: “The first two teams had talent and a lot of passion. This year’s club has been great in so many ways — from the chemistry to their ability. We will definitely miss Laura, Alanna and Vanessa (Zilkie, third year, Kelowna) next season.”
The WolfPack will take a couple of days off before beginning to prepare for the 2013 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships, which will be hosted by Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey beginning Nov. 6.
With the PACWEST title victory TRU runs its overall 2013 record to 15 wins and two ties. They have won their last six matches in a row.