By Alan Douglas/whitecapsfc.com
Two Whitecaps teams faced off for the first time ever in the Pacific Coast Soccer League at Simon Fraser University on Sunday afternoon, as Vancouver Whitecaps Prospects Women showed no mercy against a road-weary Okanagan Whitecaps, as they posted a resounding 8-0 victory.
Forward Jenna Richardson scored four goals in a span of just 19 minutes early in the first half to turn the Prospects home opener into a rout at SFU's Terry Fox Field.
Okanagan WFC are one of many Whitecaps 'Professional Development Partners' across British Colmbia that field youth teams in the USL Super Y-League, but this is their first year in the PCSL Premier Division. Unfortunately, coach Claire Paterson was not able to bring her full squad on the trip, and had to call up several U-16 players to fill in. The under-strength Okanagan side had already lost 4-0 the day earlier to Coquitlam Metro-Ford Xtreme, and things were not about to get any easier playing against their Vancouver namesakes.
The home side, however were not at full strength either, mostly due to conflicts with the high school championships. Players not dressed included star striker Alicia Tesan and leading goalscorer Jaclyn Sawicki. That meant winger Katie Turney got her first start, supporting speedy striker Richardson. Jenna Di Nunzio played left wing, while Natalie Boyd, Tessa Meyer, and young Nicole Setterlund controlled the centre of the park. This was the first game of the season for returning fullback Melissa Bowen, while Jennifer Castillo regained her starting spot at central defence after missing most of the last two games through injury.
On a hot and sunny Sunday afternoon, it didn't take the home side long to find the net. Just four minutes in, the two Jennas combined, as Di Nunzio played a through ball to Richardson, who out-paced the defence and slipped the ball under goalkeeper Brittany Marier-Baumann for her first goal of the season.
On 11 minutes, Setterlund made it 2-0 with a superb goal, as she side-stepped a defender at the top of the area before overpowering Marier-Baumann with a hard and rising shot.
The chances were coming fast and furious now for Vancouver, as the Prospects' quick passing and constant movement proved too much for the visitors. Turney volleyed over from in close, then Boyd skipped one shot just wide before bouncing another effort off the crossbar two minutes later.
On 17 minutes, Richardson struck again, as she disposed a defender to break in alone and finish. Five minutes later, she scored her hat-trick to make it 4-0, showing great determination in a scramble in front of the Okanagan goal. First, Marier-Baumann made a good save on a powerful swerving free kick from Boyd. Richardson battled for the rebound near the right post and managed to get a shot away while on the ground, which Marier-Baumann blocked. Richardson, however, sprang to her feet to finally put the chance away.
On the half-hour mark, Richardson recorded her fourth goal, scoring on another loose ball after a great header from Boyd off a corner kick was saved by Marier-Baumann. It would prove to be another frustrating outing for Boyd, who a minute later, fired a rocket of a shot, which the keeper pushed against the post.
In the closing minutes of the half, substitute winger Kendra Williams had a couple of chances saved by Marier-Baumann, while in the final minute, some superb passing by Vancouver eventually set up Di Nunzio in front, but she hit it right at the keeper.
The visitor's best chance of the half came from a free kick in time added on, which Maria Renouf curled just over the crossbar. It was 5-0 at the break.
Acting coach Alan Churchard took off Richardson at halftime, putting on Janine Frazao in her place. Frazao quickly found her rhythm, as just five minutes after the restart, she got onto a through ball from Boyd and went in on goal to make it 6-0.
The shooting gallery continued, with Marier-Baumann making good saves to deny Frazao twice, as well as Setterlund. On 64 minutes, though, Turney was able to force the ball over the goal line after a big scramble in front. Then on 68 minutes, Turney turned provided with a well-hit corner kick, which found Meyer unmarked at the back post. She powered a header past the Okanagan goalkeeper to close out the scoring at an even 8-0.
At the other end, Renouf came close to netting a consolation goal with another dangerous free kick, which just missed the top corner of the net.
The final good chance fell to Frazao, as her hard low shot hit Marier-Baumann and bounced up off the crossbar before dropping back into the arms of the Okanagan keeper.
8-0 was the final score, with goalkeeper Gurveen Clair having few saves to make to record her third shutout in four starts.
The Prospect Women's record improves to 3W-0L-1D and sets up a big showdown on Thursday, June 4, when they host the high-flying Fraser Valley Action at SFU's Terry Fox Field.
Whitecaps Prospects Women
1.Gurveen Clair; 15.Nikki Ambrose, 16.Carolyn Bell, 25.Jennifer Castillo (13.Melissa Bowen 62'), 13.Melissa Bowen (14.Sarah Pennington 45'); 10.Jenna Di Nunzio (18.Katie Turney 62'), 4.Natalie Boyd, 19.Tessa Meyer, 12.Nicole Setterlund; 18.Katie Turney (11.Kendra Williams 32'), 22.Jenna Richardson (9.Janine Frazao 45')