Prospects Women capture PCSL title


By Alan Douglas/whitecapsfc.com

Vancouver Whitecaps Prospects Women captured the Pacific Coast Soccer League's coveted Dave Fryatt Challenge Cup with a sensational 4-2 win over previously undefeated Fraser Valley Action at the Apple Bowl in Kelowna, BC, on Sunday morning.

Winger Katie Turney came off the bench and scored two goals to be named the championship final's Most Valuable Player. Natalie Boyd netted the opener and Nicole Setterlund struck the match winner in the fully deserved victory. Lindsay Rohla and Daniela Gerig scored for the Action, who had sported an imposing 16W-0L-1D record heading into the final.

The Whitecaps last won the PCSL Premier Division title back in 2006.

Prospects coach Alan Churchard kept with the same starting XI that had defeated Victoria Stars 4-0 on Saturday, with the exception of injured forward Jenna Richardson, who was replaced on the right-hand side by Alicia Tesan. Jaclyn Sawicki again played the pivotal forward role in a 4-3-3 formation, sitting deep to link with the midfield, while Tesan and Jenna Di Nunzio attacked from the flanks.

Vancouver came out quickly, with their usual high-tempo passing game, and had a couple of early chances, but there was little to choose between the two teams. "The opening 20 minutes was a real sparring match," said Churchard.

The first telling blow came on the half-hour mark, and it was struck by midfielder Boyd. Her 30-yard shot flew into the net to give the Whitecaps the lead.

Churchard immediately changed things around, switching to a 4-4-2 formation in the hope of stifling the Fraser Valley attack. He took off Sawicki, and put on Katie Turney on the right. The move proved to be a master stroke, with Turney playing an inspired match. Her strength and pace down the right caused all sorts of problems for Fraser Valley, and on 41 minutes, she doubled the lead. Turney broke in from the flank and drove home a hard shot from an angle.

The Prospects lead 2-0 at the break.

At halftime, the Whitecaps brought on forward Janine Frazao, who had been away in Europe and missed the last half of the season.

The young Prospects continued to play superbly after the restart and took a commanding 3-0 lead on 65 minutes. Some nice approach play led to Turney crossing from the right, with the ball breaking for Tessa Meyer. Her shot was stopped in a scramble, but Setterlund got her boot to the loose ball and fired it in from six yards.

The dominant force in the PCSL this season, Fraser Valley are a side that are unaccustomed to losing, or being shut out, or for that matter, being scored on all that much. The Action are a strong attacking side, but the Whitecaps defence did a tremendous job of snuffing out the pressure, with everyone on the team fighting hard for every ball. "It was a real battle," said Churchard.

The Action did have their chances though, and suddenly made good on two of them to get back into the match. With around twenty minutes to go, Rohla hit a hard dipping free kick that had enough swerve and power to elude 'Caps goalkeeper Gurveen Clair. Six minutes later following a corner kick, the ball was bouncing around in a scramble and star forward Gerig managed to get it out from under her feet and into the net. Suddenly, it was 3-2, and game on.

To their credit, the Whitecaps kept their heads and continued to play their game. The young Prospects did a good job maintaining control of the ball and the match before putting it away on 81 minutes. Substitute Frazao slipped the ball ahead to Turney, who chipped the Action keeper to make it a 4-2 final.

After the game, an exhausted team captain Boyd raised the Dave Fryatt Challenge Cup overhead - much to the appreciation of the sizable crowd on hand at the Apple Bowl.

As well, Richardson - who was on crutches - accepted her award as the leading goalscorer in the PCSL this season, while Turney received game MVP honours from league officials.

After the match, a jubilant Churchard proclaimed that it had been a fantastic weekend, and credited his players' teamwork, talent, and hard work for the victory. "They really came to the fore, and focused very well," he said. "As coaches, we can lay out and diagram what we want them to do, but the players are the ones who make it happen. They did that, and more. They were absolutely terrific."

The Prospects Women will have little time to savour the victory though, as next weekend, they will be in San Diego, California, for the prestigious Surf Cup. Competing in the U-19 women's division, they will face two of the highest-ranked teams in California - De Anza Force SC and Real So Cal White - as well as Real Colorado Nationals. That will be followed by a trip to Prince Edward Island, as the Prospects Women will represent the province of British Columbia at the 2009 Canada Games from August 17 to 22.

Scoring summary:

30' - VAN - Natalie Boyd
41' - VAN - Katie Turney
65' - VAN - Nicole Setterlund
69' - FRA - Lindsay Rohlas
75' - FRA - Daniela Gerig
81' - VAN - Katie Turney


Whitecaps Prospects Women

1.Gurveen Clair; 7.Melissa Bowen, 16.Carolyn Bell, 25.Jennifer Castillo, 15.Nikki Ambrose; 12.Nicole Setterlund, 4.Natalie Boyd, 19.Tessa Meyer; 5.Alicia Tesan (2.Jessica Hadden 60'), 6.Jaclyn Sawicki (18.Katie Turney 31'), 10.Jenna Di Nunzio (9.Janine Frazao 45'; 11.Kendra Williams 82')