T-Birds win U Sports women’s national championship

The UBC Thunderbirds won their record-breaking seventh national U Sports championship Sunday afternoon, emerging victorious over fierce rivals Calgary Dinos by a score of 1–0.

The Thunderbirds started the game aggressively, creating a great scoring opportunity less than five minutes in when Alyssa Hunt tried to chip the ball over Dinos goalkeeper Lauren Houghton, who would deflect the shot over the goal.

The ’Birds would maintain the majority of possession for another 15 minutes, although Calgary’s stellar defence prevented anymore scoring opportunities. The rest of the first half would be strongly contested, as both teams played tight defence and kept scoring chances to a minimum.

UBC almost broke the tie at the 51-minute mark when a cross by Natasha Klasios was deflected right to Katalin Tolnai, whose shot attempt was blocked by a Calgary defender. Afterwards, the Dinos would gain some momentum and kept the pressure on the Thunderbirds but couldn’t break through UBC’s stout defence.

Danielle Steer would play hero for the second consecutive game as she would be credited with the championship-winning goal at the 78th minute after the ball made a fluke bounce off the turf and over Houghton, following a header by Klasios. Upon further review, it didn’t seem like Steer touched the ball, but the goal is still credited to her.

The Thunderbirds would stay aggressive for the remainder of the game, keeping the ball out of their end and even generating a couple more scoring chances.

UBC netminder Emily Moore made one last save during extra time to cap off the victory, stopping Taylor Wells as she one-timed a dangerous cross just inside the penalty area.

As the final whistle sounded, the Thunderbirds gathered together and celebrated their victory — their first U Sports title since 2015.