“I am really pleased with the way our team responded after the disappointment of losing our first game,” said Vikes head coach Tracy David. “We were bound and determined to play our best and I think in our last two games we showed that.”
Fifth-year Vike Stephanie Badilla Gutierrez saved her best for last, as the midfielder scored a beautiful free-kick goal and added two assists in her final U SPORTS game as a Vike.
“Steph rocked it today, she brought her ‘A’ game and I think everybody saw her ability stand out,” said David. “I was so pleased that she scored off the free-kick, when she was presented that opportunity she made the most of it.”
The win secured fifth place in the nation for the Vikes, their best finish since winning a bronze medal in 2012.
Getting on the scoreboard three times in the first half, the Vikes served the Bisons notice that even though this was a consolation final they would be leaving it all on the line in their final game of an outstanding season.
“That’s the fight, spirit and resiliency that this team has,” said David. “They play for each other and believe in each other and those are tremendous qualities for our players to have.”
The scoring got underway when Badilla Gutierrez whipped in a beautiful cross that Baird powered into the back of the net just six minutes into the game.
The Vikes doubled their lead just four minutes later when Badilla Gutierrez curled a free-kick into the back of the Bisons net from just outside the 18-yard box.
A tap-in goal from Caitlin Millham in the 35th minute put the game out of reach and allowed both teams to make multiple substitution to give players valuable experience in the second half.
“Everybody wants to be in the gold medal game and were disappointed to not be there,” said David. However, the experience here in playing very good competition and having to perform under pressure at the National Championships will bode well for the future of our program.”
Also playing in the last U SPORTS games of their Vikes career were standouts Elise Butler and Emily Lieuwen. Both players started every game of the season for the Vikes to help the team finish the year with a record of 13-3-4.
“I think that we are one of the top teams in the country, we wanted to win the National Championship and we fell a little bit short but I was really proud of our response more than anything,” said David.
Victoria: #26 Stephanie Badilla Gutierrez
MAN: #11 Sara Schur