Richmond Girls Soccer talent was centre stage at the U Sports National Championships in Victoria on the weekend with a trio of all-star performances.
Four days of action culminated with the UBC Thunderbirds completing a terrific post-season run with a 1-0 victory over the Calgary Dinos in Sunday’s championship game. The road to the T-Birds record-extending seventh national title included a 1-0 semi-final upset win over Can West regular season champion Trinity Western to book their ticket to Victoria. UBC then took out Montreal and Acadia by 1-0 scores before avenging a loss to the Dinos a week earlier in the Can West final thanks to Danielle Steer’s goal in the 79th minute.
Head coach Jesse Symons leaned on Richmond’s Amelia Crawford and Jacqueline Tyrer in his starting 11 and they delivered in a big way. They were recognized for their outstanding play by being named to the tournament all-star team.
For Crawford the win and individual honours culminates an outstanding university career for the fifth-year Hugh Boyd grad and team captain who joined the Thunderbirds from Fusion FC of the B.C. Premier Soccer League.
It’s been a remarkable freshman season for Tyrer who took her career to the Point Grey campus after helping Surrey United win the U18 BCPSL title back in June to conclude her youth career. The McRoberts grad wasted little time in cracking UBC’s starting line-up, capped by all-star honours at nationals.
A runner-up finish wrapped up a decorated season for fourth-year Calgary forward Montana Leonard. She had a leading role in the Dinos winning the Can West Championship and coming ever-so-close to adding a national title too.
The McMath graduate was outstanding in Calgary’s semi-final triumph over Toronto, scoring all three goals in a 3-1 victory.
“We began preparing for this since the beginning of the season. Today, I woke up dialed in and I just wanted to get it done for my team," said Leonard of her performance. “Our back line is always solid, our midfield is always solid. I just had to get it done for the team. It was a great feeling."
Leonard led the Dinos in regular season scoring and was named earlier in the week to the U Sports All-Canadian Second Team, to go along with her tournament all-star selection.
-with files from University of Calgary Athletics