The UNBC Timberwolves took on the top-ranked team in all of Canada and didn’t back down, battling for 90 minutes in a spirited, gritty 2-0 defeat to the UBC Thunderbirds on Friday in Prince George.
In the early going, it was the Timberwolves who looked to be the more assertive side, possessing the ball and looking to play through the T-Birds. Kiana Swift, who was tremendous all game long for UNBC, had a good look from the top of the box but saw her attempt sail over the crossbar.
The Thunderbirds started to settle in from there, using their speed to pressure the TWolf defenders and trying to create turnovers deep in the UNBC end. The home side did well to not concede much, part in thanks to fifth-year keeper Brooke Molby who turned away point-blank looks from Nisa Reehal and Reebcca Morgan.
However, the T-Birds would be rewarded for their tenacity, earning a pair of corner kicks in added time, converting on the second set piece, off the foot of Ella Sunde. The goal, Sunde’s first of the campaign, was a heartbreaker for the Timberwolves, who had put in a valiant effort defending through 45 minutes.
The second half was a great battle on a chilly Prince George evening, as the ultra-athletic Thunderbirds looked to add to their lead, finding great resistance from UNBC defenders Mara McCleary, Kalista Kirkness, Avery Nystedt, and Kambria Mellum.
Canada West’s leading goal scorer, Katalin Tolnai, looked threatening on a number of occasions, testing Molby, but the score stayed 1-0 through an hour of play.
In the 63rd minute, on another set piece, a scrambly ball was bouncing in the box after a free kick, but it was eventually located and deposited by Jacqueline Tyrer for her first of the CW season.
UNBC showed tremendous heart from there, looking to create opportunities and find a goal that would cut into their opponents’ advantage. Canada West All-Star Paige Payne did well to work her way into scoring position on a number of occasions, but UNBC couldn’t create a grade-A chance to try to beat T-Birds keeper Sarah Johns.
Eventually, the official blew his whistle, with the Thunderbirds earning a 2-0 victory to improve to 8-0-0 on the season. With the hard-fought defeat, the Timberwolves drop to 2-4-1 on the campaign.
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