In a girls’ U18 Cup tournament that has seen a lot of parity, one team stood above all others, and the Bradford Eagles of Ontario convincingly claimed the gold medal on Teck Finals Day at the Sport Chek National Club Championships in Charlottetown.
The 4-0 scoreline against Calgary South West United did not flatter the Ontario team, who go home with the trophy, an unbeaten record, and no goals conceded in their five matches.
The Eagles were never truly tested in the final, despite the best efforts of an Alberta team who had made the final on the back of one win and three ties in the group stage.
The outstanding Giulia Geraci got the ball rolling for Bradford in the 13th minute when she turned in an excellent cross from Megan Di Natale, and they doubled the lead on 24 minutes when Kaitlyn Shipley played a nice one-two with MacKenzie Mix and applied a cool finish.
For Alberta to have a chance they needed an early second half goal, but their hopes were effectively ended a few minutes after the re-start when Shipley scored her second after a good run. Player of the game Geraci added a fourth, and her second, with 20 minutes left, following good individual skill and a good shot.
For the remainder of the game, the Ontario team were content to let Alberta press, and they shut the door to preserve their 100% defensive record.
Coach Greg Beauchamp was delighted at the end, stating that what impressed him most was the way his team had got stronger as the tournament went on.
“Today was our best game, and it was great to see the team come to terms with playing in a championship like this. You have to pace yourself and improve a little each time as you get used to the conditions, the field etc, and we did just that. They are an amazing group of girls who have waited a long time to come to a national championship, and I couldn’t be more happy for them.”
Two goal hero Giulia Geraci summed up the feeling on behalf of her teammates.
“This won’t sink in for a long time. We are all just so excited and to win a national championship is a dream come true. It was a real team effort – we are just so happy to have won.”
Final: Bradford Eagles (ON) 4-0 Calgary South West United (AB)
3 / 4: Diables Rouges Haute St-Charles 5-0 FC Northwest (MB)
5 / 6: Halifax Dunbrack (NS) 1-0 Surrey United (BC)
7 / 8: Prince Albert Celtics (SK) 2-0 Winsloe Charlottetown Royals (PE)
9 / 10: St John’s (NL) 5-2 Moncton Codiac First Touch (NB)