KELOWNA, BC - Subbing in at the 22nd minute for the Heat in goal, Iona Lawson played great behind her defense making six saves to allow the Kylee Walker goal at the end of the first half to hold up as UBC Okanagan grabbed its first win of the year shutting out the visiting MacEwan Griffins (1-0) on Sunday in Kelowna.
The Heat (1-0-1) finish their opening weekend with a win and a draw while the Griffins (1-1-0) head back to Edmonton with an even .500 record after a loss today followed by a Saturday road win in Kamloops.
Third year forward, Kylee Walker, scored the game winning goal in extra time at the end of the first half. After winning the ball in mid-field Walker passed to Jasmine Cooper who raced down the right side, cut it back, and passed back to Walker who went top shelf, left side, from the top of the 18 yard box.
Playing in front of Lawson was UBC Okanagan player of the match, captain Lindsey Berthelsen; the fourth year Human Kinetics student led the very young squad, including an emergency goalie change, to the clean sheet. First year players logged 463 of the Heat's 990 total minutes on Sunday.
The best chance the Griffins had in the first half was at the 42nd minute mark when a defensive miscue on the Heat backline allowed Megan Oram a clean look at the keeper, she was only able to tap it, which was handled by Lawson.
The Griffins came back on Saturday with two goals in after the 85th minute for a (2-1) win in Kamloops, and in the same situation on Sunday, they were able to apply pressure late in the match down by just the single goal.
In the 64th minute a scramble in the box off of one of MacEwan's seven second half corners resulted in a couple of blocked shots before UBCO was able to clear.
Three solid chances for MacEwan the final ten minutes kept pushing the Heat back with two dangerous corners and a free kick; rookie keeper Iona Lawson turned all away as she made four saves in the second half.
Emily Burns, the MacEwan keeper, only faced two shots on net, both by Walker. Jamie Erickson led both teams with five shots, three that needed to be turned away.
"It's just such a great group and they work so hard," said Craig Smith, the Heat coach in his third year"
"The first half we had a lot of young ones on the pitch to really control the temple and that first goal was how we want to play the game, how we want to see the game."
"In the second half we got a wee bit spooked with the high pressure," continued Smith, "We had to dig deep. They put a lot of pressure on us [but] the grit they showed and the determination, [all with] a lot of young ones on the pitch, and Lindsey Berthelsen, the captain, was just immense. [It was] just an incredible performance. I'm absolutely delighted for the players."
UBC Okanagan will be heading east for their first road trip of the year, and the start of four straight road contests, when they play Mount Royal in Calgary on Saturday (Sept. 15 at 10 a.m. PT), and then at U of A in Edmonton on Sunday (Sept. 16 at 11 a.m. PT).
MacEwan will launch their home season with a Friday night affair against the Saskatchewan Huskies (Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. MT). The then host the Regina Cougars at noon on Sunday (Sept. 16).