After an long pitched battle, UBC’s Katalin Tolnai scored in the last minute of extra time to defeat Trinity Western 1-0 and win gold at the 2023 U SPORTS Women’s Soccer Championship. UBC captured the Gladys Bean Memorial Trophy for the eighth time, the most of any school.
Trinity Western and UBC are two very familiar foes. Their last encounter was only ten short days ago at the Canada West final. In that match, Trinity Western defeated UBC on penalties, today these teams met with the same level of passion, and went another 120 minutes, but finished with a slightly different result.
UBC had some good advances early in the first half and opened the match with lots of pressure. However, with the gold medal on the line, the Spartans matched their intensity and both teams played the match through with a sense of urgency.
Thunderbird Jayda Thompson led their charge with speed up the wing, and in many cases, Nisa Reehal joined her to add even more pressure. The Spartans, however, knew to anticipate this duo and responded to UBC’s attempts with a collapsing defense.
In the second half both teams opened with big opportunities. Within minutes both keepers made game altering saves to keep the board scoreless.
UBC found some breakthrough opportunities starting in the 57th minute. Jayda Thompson took a strike from the left side that looked perfect but nailed the post at the last second in a stroke of luck for the Spartans. Moments later Nisa Reehal also got a shot off, but Trinity Western keeper Hannah Miller stopped it.
Sophie Damian copied teammate Jayda Thompson in the 70th minute for another perfect shot that was foiled again at the last second by the post. Trinity Western responded with intensity in the Thunderbird zone during the final minutes, but their efforts didn’t take. At the end of regular time, the game remained scoreless.
Extra time started and the Spartans kept up their assault. They dominated in the additional minutes and kept the pressure in UBC’s end to tally six shots while UBC took none.
Then, in the 119th minute, UBC got their sole opportunity of overtime. They advanced towards the box and Jayda Thompson launched a perfect cross right to Tolnai who popped it off her head and in for the only goal of the match.
The Spartans continued through the final minute, but their efforts didn’t convert, and UBC held on to their lead to win the Glady Bean Memorial Trophy.
[Story written by Sarah Maat]
Nike Team players of the game:
- TWU: Bryana Buttar
- UBC: Katalin Tolnai
- Katalin Tolnai, UBC
Championship All-Star Team
- GK: Dakota Beckett, UBC
- DEF: Alexandra Doucet, Laval
- DEF: Tilly James, Trinity Western
- DEF: Sophia Ferreira, UBC
- DEF: Jacqueline Tyrer, UBC
- MID: Elsa Lessard, Laval
- MID: Mia Tessier, Montréal
- MID: Taiya Dennehy, UBC
- MID: Bryana Buttar, Trinity Western
- ATT: Katalin Tolnai, UBC
- ATT: Sophie Crowther, Trinity Western
R.W. Pugh Fair Play Award
- UBC Thunderbirds