Nathan Crosby, Sports Editor Ω
After a hard fought and memorable season, the WolfPack women’s soccer team came one win shy of a medal at nationals.
TRU finished fourth at the CCAA championships in Quebec City, losing 3-0 in the bronze medal match to the Ahuntsic Indiennes of Montreal on Nov. 12.
Second-year forward Laura Smylie didn’t let the loss take away from the WolfPack’s unlikely season that saw her team win the PACWEST championship and compete against the country’s best.
“I am happy we came fourth. It is never fun to lose a game,” she said.
“But when you look at the big picture, coming fourth in the country is something to be very proud of.
“Gold, silver or bronze would have been nice. But fourth is OK and I am proud to be on this team.”
The snowy weather in the final game may have worked against the ‘Pack, as Ahuntsic got on the board quickly at the eight-minute mark and kept keeper Emily Edmundson on her toes early.
Ahuntsic struck again before half time at the 43rd minute with what seemed like an innocent shot from outside the 18 yard box, beating Edmundson and putting TRU in a 2-0 hole.
Despite some roster tinkering by WolfPack head coach Tom McManus in the second half, Ahuntsic added another goal and held off a TRU team that wouldn’t give up but couldn’t equalize the Indiennes play.
“I thought we did well at times but we were missing linking up,” McManus said.
“That was our biggest problem today. We were trying to get it out wide and it didn’t work.”
This also marked the last game for fifth-year midfielder Ashley Piggot, who is graduating with a bachelor of science this coming spring and was named tournament all-star.
“Both teams had to play in the poor weather and had to deal with the adversity,” she said.
“I think we were a little tired and flat and they definitely came at us. At the end of first half we began to wake up but they definitely took it to us.”
In addition to finishing fourth in the nation, the WolfPack were also named the Most Sportsmanlike Team at the tournament, having only two yellow cards in the three games they played in Quebec.
“I am really happy we will probably have the same group of girls,” Smylie said.
“We are definitely going to miss Ashley. She is such a force in the field. I think the girls that are coming back will hopefully pick up where we left off and keep winning those games and make it to Nationals again.”
Coach McManus and his team will come back to Kamloops looking towards next year with optimism, hoping to repeat as PACWEST champions with the same roster who captured the title back on Oct. 30.
“Fourth in Canada is a good accomplishment,” he said.
“Considering all the adversity that we went through this year, we weren’t even ranked until the last week of the season. I am proud of all the girls. I was disappointed in our play the last couple of days but they are a great group of girls.”