Prince George, BC - The entire 2018 season would come down to one goal for the Heat women's soccer team as they fell 1-0 to the UNBC Timberwolves in their final game of the season.
Following a Thompson Rivers draw against MacEwan, the Heat knew they would just need a draw or win to clinch a spot in the playoffs. UNBC was given hope following the result in Edmonton as they found out at halftime that a win would give themselves a spot in the postseason.
The breakthrough came in the 60th minute for the Timberwolves, as Paige Payne pounced on a Heat turnover and found Sophia Jones who fired it over the head of Heat keeper Emma Terrilon and into the back of the net.
"It was just a momentary lapse," said UBCO's Lindey Betherlsen. "The way we play, we do get punished if we give away the ball in the back."
The Timberwolves continued to apply pressure, looking for a two goal lead, and nearly got it off the foot of Payne in the 68th minute, but the Kitimat native's shot missed wide.
As the clock ticked down on the game, the Heat knew time was running out on their season. They looked to press and create chances around Molby, as the TWolves absorbed in and looked to hold onto the lead.
"You can't win if you can't score, and that has been our problem this season," said Berthelsen. "That is something we need to work on moving forward, that hunger to put the ball in the net. To get the results we deserved in a lot of our games this season."
The first 20 minutes would be controlled by the homtown T-Wolves but the Heat would hold them to very few quality scoring chances. UBCO would get their best chance of the half 22 minutes in off of a corner kick when Madelyn Ellis's shot was saved by Timberwolves keeper Brooke Molby. Just a few minutes later the visitors would keep up the pressure as a long distance shot from rookie Aurora Gardiner rang off the cross bar from 25 yards out. It was an extremely open opening 45 minutes, as the T-Wolves would have six shots on target compared to five for the Heat.
The T-Wolves would find the important opening goal of the contest in the 60th minute when Sofia Jones would capitalize on a Heat turnover and fire it home over the head of keeper Emma Terrillon. The final minutes of the match were controlled by the Heat as they looked to keep their season alive following the result in Edmonton with Thompson Rivers. Madelyn Ellis would have multiple chances but was denied on two occasions by Brooke Molby.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Informaiton, with notes from Rich Abney, UNBC