The UBC Thunderbirds advanced to the U SPORTS Women’s Soccer Championship semifinal following their 1-0 victory over the Montréal Carabins on Thursday evening at Centennial Stadium.
The Carabins earned the first great opportunity in the fifth minute. Amelia Crawford thought she managed the space well enough between her and Maxyme Nobert, but Crawford slipped and allowed Nobert to walk in on Thunderbird keeper Emily Moore. Moore stood her ground and swallowed up the scoring chance.
Five minutes before halftime, Melanie Sasseville ripped a shot from outside the 18-yard box. Destined for the top shelf, Moore got just enough to deflect it out of bounds. On the ensuing corner, Moore leapt into the crowd to snag a shot attempt.
The Thunderbirds took the lead in the 56th minute off a corner when Jacqueline Tyrer’s cross found the foot of Katalin Tolnai, who booted it into the top of the net.
“Jackie has great service on her kicks for a first-year player,” said Thunderbirds head coach Jesse Symons. “She always finds a way to get the ball into dangerous areas. We were lucky enough today that she bounced it and found another first-year player in Katalin.”
The Carabins nearly tied it in the 77th minute when Fatima Gharsallah slid into Moore on a 50-50 ball near the goal crease. Gharsallah got a foot on it but the ball trickled wide.
In a physical affair, Erika Bastien worked her way through a UBC crowd to get a header on net, but Moore was there to make the diving snag in the 82nd minute.
Looking for the tie in the dying moments, Katya Houpert sent a volley in for Bastien but her header again was unable to find the back of the net.
“Montreal is a quality opponent – they played a great game today,” said Symons. “We always talk about wanting to play fast and physical, and I think our Canada West games prepared us quite well for that.”
The Thunderbirds will now take on the Acadia Axewomen on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET / 12:30 p.m. PT, while the Carabins will battle the York Lions in the consolation semifinal Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. PT.
“They showed character at the end, but its a case of too little too late,” said Carabins head coach Kevin McConnell. “We were maybe a bit nervous in the beginning, but we were far from our best today and on the day UBC was the better team. We wanted to be the best team in the country at the end of the season but we weren’t the best team on the field today.”
UBC: Janika Sangha
“I was focused on winning my battles in the middle today and not letting Montreal turn and get up field,” said Sangha. “I tried to support my team as much as possible and I’m super excited about our result.”