Nathan Crosby, Sports Editor Ω
The WolfPack women’s soccer team is bringing home a championship banner.
The women won the 2011 PACWEST league title, beating the UBCO Heat 2-1 in overtime off the foot of Alanna Bekering.
It was TRU’s first title since the 2003-04 season.
The team will play for the Canaidan Collegiate Athletic Association Championship in Quebec City on Nov. 9.
“Honestly, it still hasn’t sunk in,” captain Abbey McCauley said.
“When she [Bekering] scored the first goal, it was this unreal feeling, because everybody knew we could go to Nationals and to score the first goal was awesome.”
Bekkering’s game winner came in the ninth minute of the first overtime period.
It was her second goal of the game after opening the scoring at the 42nd minute, as described by McAuley.
The ‘Pack had to battle hard against a tough host UBCO team.
Rookie keeper Emily Edmundson was tested constantly by the Heat’s offense, making key saves including a free kick at the 40th minute.
Amanda Barrett left the game at the 80th minute after receiving an elbow to the head that produced some blood.
The short overtime was a relief to the WolfPack who had played their third game in three days.
“On Saturday night we did a bunch of ice baths and that sucked but it definitely rejuvenated my legs,” McAuley said when asked about the exhaustion of back-to-back games.
Injuries were supposed to deter the team from advancing high in the standings this season.
Three players went down early in the year — Sara Gomes had a severe concussion, Blair Mackay broke her nose and Chianne Smith tore her ACL.
Head coach Tom McManus couldn’t even have predicted his team would win the PACWEST when looking back to the start of the season.
“[At the] beginning, no. Part way through the year, definitely,” he said when asked if he thought his team would go as far as they did.
“I always knew we had a team that could do it, but as soon as the injuries started coming in, it became a test to see if we could actually do it without key players.
“Everybody who filled in for different positions did an excellent job.”
The WolfPack have now gone 13 matches without a defeat and haven’t lost a game since Sept.10.
“I felt they were a very talented group right from the very beginning.
“The recruits we had were extremely talented, but I thought it may take a year before we got into Nationals.”
Bekering got a ball to the face in the semi-final against Langara and had to see a doctor who found her retina scratched. She came back on in the same game to score the winner.
“She said to me, ‘I want to play’ and I said ‘You can’t see, you can’t play.’ The doctor said once her vision cleared she could play,” McManus said.
Bekering’s MVP performance in the semi-final game was overshadowed 24 hours later when she added another game-winner in the final.
With a week to prepare, McManus likes their chances at Nationals and said he knows his team will give 100 per cent in Quebec.
“The team has a never-say-die attitude and I believe they are going to fly into and keep going and going,” he said.
The team is flying out on Nov. 7 and will start practicing on Tuesday.