September 7, 2013, KELOWNA, BC – A penalty-kick proved to be the difference for the Okanagan Heat’s women’s soccer team in their season opener, as fifth-year senior and four-time PACWEST all-star Jennifer Kidd (Richmond, BC) earned the Heat their first win of the 2013 season, a 2-1 victory over the visiting Vancouver Island Mariners at Nonis Sports Field on Saturday.
After being hauled down in the box in the 70th minute, a composed Kidd buried the penalty kick just past the outstretched arms of Mariner goalkeeper Shelby Walker (3rd year, Victoria, BC) to put the Heat up for good, 2-1.
“When that whistle blew, I took a deep breath and focused on what I had to do,” said Kidd following the game. “I wasn’t concerned about the score [during the PK]. I was only concerned about me, the keeper, and the twelve yards of turf between us.”
After an anxious beginning to the first half for both teams, Michelle Smith (3rd year, Vernon, BC) opened the scoring for the Heat on a header in the 37th minute. The Heat continued to pressure VIU in the second half, but a goal by Shelby Walker in the 67th minute cooled the Heat and tied the game at 1-1.
Despite the score in the 67th, head coach Claire Paterson knew her team could overcome.
“We’re resilient,” noted Paterson. “We’re really focused this year and we have fantastic leadership, so I knew we would keep grinding until the 90th minute.”
A notable performance that won’t show up on the score sheet was that of Laura Graham (2nd year, Sidney, BC), the stand-in GK for Christine Tallon (4th year, Kamloops, BC). Graham, a midfielder, found herself thrust into action during training camp after Tallon suffered a concussion. Her performance today, in an unfamiliar role, was a major reason why the Heat were able to keep VIU at one goal.
“Laura has worked really hard for us in the past two weeks,” added Paterson. “To get a win for her in her first start was a nice addition.”
The Heat will resume action tomorrow as they host the Capilano Blues at Nonis Sports Field. Game time is scheduled for 12 p.m.
Heat Notes – Head coach Claire Paterson expects Christine Tallon to be ready to play next weekend versus Kwantlen College and Douglas College. Her sitting this weekend was mostly for precautionary purposes.