Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite squad won their first game of the Metro Women’s Soccer League (MWSL) Cup on Sunday, winning a tough 5-2 game over West Coast FC Kerrisdale.
The girls had to survive the rough, muddy conditions of the grass at Montgomery Field and a very physical, motivated West Coast FC to win their first ever Cup game.
“It just shows the opportunity we have playing in the Metro Women’s Soccer League, to play in a cup environment,” said Whitecaps FC Girls Elite head coach Jesse Symons. “The team we played, full credit to them, they were cheering on every little battle they won and were very motivated to eliminate our space and our chances. We fought through and were able to generate some opportunities and did well to finish our chances.”
Whitecaps’ Monika Levarsky opened the scoring in the 15th minute, scoring one of two goals on the day, receiving a ball played through by Chelsea Harkins.
“I saw the open net, I saw the open lane, I just wanted to pass the player and just take the shot,” said an excited, mud-soaked Levarsky following the game. “I saw the open gate, it was right there so I took it on my left foot.”
Just six minutes later Margaret Hadley added to the lead. She charged down the left side of the field and received a cross pass from Harkins, from there she made no mistakes.
In the 40th minute Alessia Azermadhie played a ball through to Harkins who scored a back-post goal, putting the score at 3-0 going into the half.
The second half did not start as planned for the 'Caps. The girls gave up goals in the 53rd and 61st minute, putting West Coast FC within one.
The quick scare from the Kerrisdale team was short lived as Ruby Sandhu played a ball to Aman Shergill in the 68th minute, which went in on a near post shot.
“We have full trust in our group,” said Symons. “Although they scored a couple goals early in the second half, we fought through and scored pretty soon after that. We held firm and stayed focused on keeping the lead and never gave it up.”
“It was a little challenging because of the field conditions, but I think we all pushed for each other towards the end after the two goals we let in,” said Levarsky. “We just got our heads back up and got back those goals.”
She would put the game out of reach in the 87th minute with her second of the game on a great individual effort.
“I was kind of greedy, I didn’t want to pass it off. I saw that it was open, so I just wanted to take my shot.”
Symons was especially impressed with Levarsky’s play.
“From start to finish, when Monika was playing she pushed the team and really deserved her second goal later in the match. She worked tirelessly throughout the game and really tried to push through,” he said. “She really showed that cup game mentality, fighting for everything, getting in every tackle, sliding for balls. She did very well today.”
Levarsky was one player who was not fazed by the tough field conditions.
“Right now we're used to turf, it’s a challenge and I think we all just take it and we just play,” she said. “I love playing on grass, getting down and dirty, it’s part of the game, it’s fun.”
The girls play their next cup game on Saturday against NSGSC Renegades (8W-3L-2D) in what is expected to be a tough matchup.