November 6, 2013, Surrey, B.C. (ISN) — An early goal is all the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Ooks needed as it beat the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack 1-0 in a tightly contested quarterfinals match Wednesday on opening day of the 2013 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Women’s Soccer National Championship.
The No. 5 seed Ooks also got the best of the No. 4 seed WolfPack in last year’s bronze medal match. It was also the WolfPack’s first loss of the season after going 12-0-2 in the Pacific Western Athletic Association regular season and sweeping the playoffs.
Players contended with a chilly late afternoon breeze, which was accentuated by snow-capped mountains in the background at Surrey’s Newton Athletic Park.
“We worked on our defending today, that’s for sure. They’re a good team and we had to defend a few of their players very tightly,” said Ooks coach Carole Holt.
The Ooks opened the scoring in the first minute on a goal by forward Lindsay Vicente.
The Edmonton club came close to making it 2-0 in the 15th minute when Leanne Kadatz put on a dribbling clinic from 25 yards out and drilled a shot at WolfPack goalkeeper Emily Edmundson, who juggled the ball on the goal line.
While both teams exchanged chances in the first half, the score remained 1-0 going into the second.
With its season on the line, TRU turned on its jets after the 45th minute and controlled most of the play but couldn’t find the equalizer.
“We played poorly for 30 seconds and well for 89 minutes and 30 seconds, but we didn’t score, we didn’t finish, unfortunately,” said a disappointed WolfPack coach Tom McManus, the PACWEST Coach of the Year.
The WolfPack’s Alanna Bekkering led most of the charge with several chances off the left side, particularly a glorious scoring opportunity in the 66th minute when a scramble ensued just feet from the goal line. Ooks goalkeeper Michele Greer cleared the ball from harm’s way and made a number of saves on the way to victory.
“Their goalkeeper played really well. She should have been the Player of the Game,” said McManus, who criticized his own game plan for attacking too much from the left.
As the game drew to an end, time was not the WolfPack’s friend and NAIT was able to kill the clock.
“The last few minutes we had the ball down in their end and that was pretty much all the possession we had that half,” said Holt.
Players of the Match honours went to defender Loren Burke-Gaffney of NAIT and forward Katie Sparrow of Thompson Rivers.
NAIT is one of two wildcard teams in the tournament. It lost to the No. 2 seed MacEwan Griffins 3-2 in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference championship. The Ooks had an 8-2-0 record during the regular season.
NAIT now moves on to the semifinals and will play Thursday at 5:30 p.m. against the winner of the quarterfinals match between the No.1 seed Garneau Elans and the No. 8 seed Kwantlen Polytechnic University Eagles. Meanwhile, Thompson Rivers moves on to the bronze medal quarterfinals Thursday at 12:30 p.m. and will play the loser of that same match.
CCAA is the governing body for college sports in Canada that oversees five regional sporting associations. Champions from each association gained entry to this year’s national championship, along with two wildcard teams and the host, Kwantlen Polytechnic University. The tournament takes place from Nov. 6 to 9 at Newton Athletic Park and admission is free for children under 18.
Stay up to date with the latest results on the CCAA website: http://www.ccaa.ca/national-championship-s15054