The University of Northern British Columbia Women’s soccer team used a Hannah Emmond goal in the 69th minute to top the Lethbridge Pronghorns 1-0 on Friday, September 20th in Prince George, B.C.
The first half started tentatively for both sides, as the majority of the play stayed in the middle of the park. UNBC generated the better of the chances early, but goalkeeper Ellie Kabayama did well to turn them away.
In minute 12, UNBC defender Lydia Lavigne was subbed out with an injury, and replaced by freshman Kenzie Chilcott. Just 16 minutes later, Chilcott suffered her own injury, so coach Neil Sedgwick was forced to move Canada West All-Star forward Paige Payne to the backline.
“The adaptability of our team is phenomenal. Paige is a striker and she is playing center back,” said UNBC keeper Brooke Molby. “All the girls are able to play in so many positions, it is awesome.”
The TWolves turned up the pressure from there, and had their best chance in the 36th minute. Fifth-year Julia Babicz snaked her way through Horns defenders, and beat Kabayama, but couldn’t beat the post.
Lethbridge responded with a pair of chances from Raeleen Vanden Dungen, plus an opportunity from Colette Mofakham, but TWolves keeper Brooke Molby made the saves with relative ease to end the half.
“They were playing three in the back, and that created a lot of options for them in the middle of the field,” said Pronghorns defender Jesse Dueck, postgame. “If we had recognized that earlier and put high pressure as well, we could have had more chances. It’s tough.”
In 69th minute, the home side got the break it was looking for. Sofia Jones found herself on a break, but her shot was stopped bravely by Kabayama. From there, Jenna Wild was able to play the ball back to Jones, who found second-half substitution Hannah Emmond 20 yards out. The Prince George product was able to put it up and over the keeper, giving the Timberwolves the 1-0 advantage.
“Sof had an amazing run and dribble, and I just thought I wouldn’t be quick enough so I just sat back,” said Emmond with a laugh, postgame. “She played a perfect pass, and I got a free shot off. I can’t credit our team enough. Everyone is part of the play. Their movements are creating opportunities.”
From there, UNBC was able to absorb in, as substitutions Kyra Wallace and Sonja Neitsch were effective in playing out the clock. The Pronghorns did earn a corner kick in the 89th minute that found its way into the box, but they were unable to capitalize.
With the victory, the TWolves improve to 3-1-1 on the young season, while the Pronghorns’ Canada West record slid to 0-3-2.
“We knew our first two weekends were going to be really tough teams. And UNBC is a good team, too, so we knew it would be a hard start to the season,” said Dueck. “I like how we are not panicking, and we are keeping the ball. It’s just a matter of making the right decisions. It’s those little passes, and little decisions, but we have come a long way.”
Lethbridge will now travel east for a date with the University of Calgary Dinos, while the Timberwolves play host to the Mount Royal Cougars on Sunday in Prince George.
“We will train tomorrow, and Neil will reset us for the next game,” said Molby, who made nine saves. “The girls will bring energy to practice, and we will be ready for Sunday.”