WolfPack women’s soccer star steps off the pitch at Hillside for the last time in an emotional regular-season closer
Adam Williams, Sports Editor Ω
She went out with a bang, but that doesn’t mean it was any easier.
Alanna Bekkering scored her 13th goal of the regular season on Sunday in a 3-0 victory over the Langara College Falcons. The marker was her final regular season goal as a member of the WolfPack and padded her lead as the Pacific Western Athletic Associations leading goal scorer.
“I was really hoping for a goal today, I guess,” Bekkering said following the match. “To end my league season off with a goal is really nice.”
The tally was the third of the match and followed goals from Jaydene Radu and Courtney Daly. The WolfPack finished the season 12-0-2 and are just the second team in the school’s history to go undefeated in the regular season.
Despite the victory, and a berth in the provincials on the horizon, Bekkering was emotional as she left the Hillside turf for the final time.
“At the beginning of the half, actually, I started to cry a little bit, just because it’s my last little hurrah here in Kamloops,” Bekkering said, holding back tears. “I just was a little nervous and I did want to score, I guess. I was really hoping to set up Bronwyn (Crawford) because that’s our little thing we always do, I always look at her for every cross, unfortunately that didn’t happen but I got a goal.”
In his five seasons at the helm of the WolfPack, head coach Tom McManus has seen a number of players come and go, but he admitted Bekkering is going to be hard to replace.
Laura Smylie and Vanessa Zilkie will also be departing the team at season end.
“It’s hard on the heart,” McManus said, when asked what was going through his mind as he watched Bekkering play the final seconds of her career at Hillside Stadium.
“She’s such a great player, she’s a great spirit, not just as a soccer player but as a human being.”
McManus cited Bekkering’s work in the community, along with the way that she interacts with the Kamloops Minor Soccer players who attend each match, as evidence of how important she’s been to the program and the city of Kamloops.
“It feels really good for people to look up to you,” Bekkering said. “Some people say ‘It’s just university soccer’ but it’s the highest level that I can go from here on out. So for little kids to look up to me and ask me for my autograph, it’s something little, but it’s special.”
With the regular season complete, Bekkering and the WolfPack turn their attention to the provincial, and possibly national, championship. They will head to Nanaimo on the weekend where they will face the Falcons for the third time this season, in the Pacific Western provincial semifinal. Langara and the WolfPack played to a 1-1 draw and Sunday’s 3-0 match in their first two meetings this season.
TRU is looking to defend its back-to-back provincial championships (2011 and 2012) and get its third crack at a national championship this year before its departure to the Canada West University Athletic Association for the 2014 season.