EDMONTON, AB – EDMONTON – The visiting UBC Okanagan Heat were victimized by Sydney Daines, the Alberta striker scored four goals to power the University of Alberta Pandas to a 5-2 comeback win Friday afternoon at Foote Field.
Daines, in her debut CIS season after two years with Red Deer College, scored a hat-trick in the first half and then added her fourth of the game, and sixth on the season, in the second half. Aly Parth scored Alberta’s other goal, converting on a penalty kick in the first half.
The Heat, meanwhile, got goals from Courtney Hemmerling and Maddy Laranjo, both coming in the first half.
With the win Alberta improves to 7-2-2 on the season, but remains tied for second in the Pacific Division with the UFV Cascades. Both teams trail Trinity Western as the Spartans sit atop with a 9-0-2 record, six points ahead of Alberta and UFV. The Pandas entered the weekend having already clinched a playoff spot, but is battling for positioning, as well as a home playoff date.
The top six teams in each division will move into the post-season, and the top three will host an opening round playoff game as well. While Alberta is assured a playoff game, the Heat are in a fight to clinch a berth. UBCO came into Edmonton in sixth place in the Pacific Division, the final playoff spot, but six points back of fifth-place Victoria and nine points up on seventh place Thompson Rivers. The Wolfpack, however, have four games remaining and a possible 12 points available to them, leaving UBCO in need of wins in their final three games. TRU’s game today against UNBC was postponed due to weather, and the Wolfpack will be in Edmonton on Sunday for a match against Alberta. UBCO will take on UNBC on Sunday as well with the game now moved to Kelowna (Sun 10:30 a.m.), before closing out the season against Saskatchewan and Regina at home.
The Heat, however, was the better team against Alberta, at least in the early going. The Heat turned on the pressure on the Pandas, scoring twice inside the game’s opening 12 minutes, including in the second minute when Hemmerling pounced on a poor pass by the Pandas’ defence and raced in all alone on Alberta goalie Cassie Bazzerelli, beating the ‘keeper for the early 1-0 lead.
Laranjo doubled their advantage in the 12th minute when she slipped behind the Alberta defence, sprung in all alone by Andrea Stinson, and beat Bazzerelli.
Daines found her first of the game in the 23rd minute, when she tapped in a cross by Karissa McNutt. She scored again in the 36th minute, this time striking a bouncing ball from the top of the 18-yard box past UBC-O goalie Chloe Ainsworth.
Parth made it a 3-2 game just four minutes later when the Heat were charged with a handball in their own 18-yard box. The sophomore midfielder buried the penalty kick into the bottom left corner to give Alberta three goals in 17 minutes.
Daines completed the hat-trick in added time of the first half, tapping in another cross from Fallon Dickie to give Alberta a stunning 4-2 lead after 45 minutes of play.
She scored her improbable fourth goal of the game in the 56th minute, when she collected a loose ball 30-yards from goal, and took advantage of Ainsworth being off her line by chipping the goalie for the 5-2 score line.
The Heat came close to finding a third goal late in the second half when Edmonton-born defender Lindsey Berthelsen rose up to direct a header from a corner kick onto the Alberta goal, but Bazzerelli jumped and deflected the ball over the cross bar.
The Pandas will take on the TRU Wolfpack on Sunday, October 16 at 1 p.m. MT at Foote Field, while UBCO will play the Timberwolves on Sunday as well. This game has been moved to Kelowna and will start at 10:30 a.m. PT at Nonis Field.
~ Matt Gutsch, Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics