Dinos dominate UNBC in soccer playoff
The upset the UNBC Timberwolves were hoping for Friday afternoon on the U Sports Canada West women’s soccer pitch in Victoria failed to materialize.
The University of Calgary Dinos scored two goals in the opening half and added one more early in the second half to defeat the T-wolves 3-0.
Maddison Fritze got the Dinos started 17:08 into the game, getting free in behind the UNBC defence to launch a shot from within the 18-yard box into an open net behind goalie Brooke Molby.
Sienna Prince-McPher added to the total at the 44:57 mark, sprung by a lead pass from Fritze.
Kelsie Macdonald gave Calgary got some more breathing room at 54:48 when she scored on a rebound after the ball ricocheted off Molby.
Molby was a busy netminder in her university playoff debut.
She faced 12 shots and stopped nine of them. Calgary goalie Lauren Houghton had just to saves to make, although T-wolves striker Sidney Roy came close to spoiling the shutout on a free kick 80 minutes in and she blasted a shot off the crossbar in the 83rd minute.
Fritze, with a goal and an assist, was picked as the player of the game for the Dinos. Madison Emmond, a fourth-year midfielder from Prince George, was selected as the T-wolves’ standout player Friday.
“We asked a lot of her today, we asked the game to go through her and she accepted the challenge and played an incredible role on defence, very solid,” said UNBC head coach Neil Sedgwick.
The game matched the T-wolves (3-7-4), the sixth-place finishers in the Pacific Division, against the Dinos (7-4-3), who placed third in the Prairies Division.
Calgary, a school of close to 30,000 students, was considered the heavy favourite going up against UNBC, which has a student population of about 3,500. The T-wolves were first-time playoff participants, which dates back six seasons since they joined the Canada West Conference.
“Calgary’s a good team, very athletic and well-organized but we came out and and played some wonderful stuff,” said Sedgwick. “Obviously the event of it all, first time in the playoffs, had a bit of an effect on the players’ nerves in the beginning, but they managed to come through it extremely well and really out a good game together in the end.”
The game marked the end of the university soccer careers of four fifth-year T-wolves – midfielders Tianna Pius and Tianna Rossi, and defenders Fiona Raymond and Rhianne Ferdinandi.
Roy, a fourth-year striker, is graduating the UNBC ranks in December and won’t be a back for her fifth season of college eligibility.
“We couldn’t have gotten to this point without a few years of a lot of good conscientious people taking some losses, including ourselves last year,” said Sedgwick.
“You don’t make it to the top of the conference without experiencing what it’s like to be first-timers in the tournament.
“I’m proud of where this group of players has come from, not just this year but including last year, they’ve put their time, their effort, their focus into it and it really showed on the field. Now it’s time to put on the work boots and really see if we can grow during the winter as they did last year. I’m excited to see where the group will be in August.”
The Dinos advance to a quarterfinal playoff against the Victoria Vikes Sunday at 2 p.m. in Victoria.
The UNBC men are in action Saturday afternoon in Edmonton for their first-ever Canada West playoff game. They take on the University of Alberta Golden Bears in a quarterfinal matchup (1 p.m. PT start, live updates on canadawest.org).
UNBC (5-5-6) clinched fourth place in the Pacific Division to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in their six-year university soccer history. Alberta (9-1-4), the defending national champions and the the thirdranked team in Canada, finished first in the Prairie Division.
The winner will take on the winner of Trinity Western-Calgary quarterfinal Saturday night. The final four playoffs will be hosted next weekend by the highest remaining seed in the Pacific Division.