- Before the match, Whitecaps FC captain Kierra Blundell was awarded the League1 BC golden boot (10 goals) and MVP award
- With the victory, Whitecaps FC Girls Elite have now won five trophies in the last year, including the League1 BC playoff title (2022, 2023), League1 BC regular season title (2023), Juan de Fuca Plate (2023), and FIFA/Blue Stars championship (2023)
VANCOUVER, BC – It was a classic Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite display on Saturday, as they would put three past Unity FC to secure back-to-back League1 BC playoff titles with a 3-1 victory at BC Place.
The 'Caps started strong, dominating the early proceedings in this League1 BC final. Kierra Blundell tested the hands of Hannah Miller early on, skipping past two tackles and firing a vicious shot to force Hannah Miller into a nice save. Jevena Hernandez-Gray would clip the outside of the far post a few minutes later, with her shot from inside the box leaving Miller stranded.
Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Sidney Venier, making her first start, would come up huge on the other end for the 'Caps with several big saves.
After an early save inside the first five minutes, Venier would later be called upon again. Alanna Bekkering won the ball in the box and unleashed a venomous shot that rattled off Venier’s post before she got a hand to it to keep it out. Sophie Crowther would test Venier again just a few minutes later, placing a shot straight down the middle.
Blundell would force Miller to tip an effort over the ball half-way through the first half, with her curling shot from inside the box earning her side a corner. Unity would be the first to break the deadlock though, as a corner from Crowther would find the head of Karlee Pedersen, who nodded it past Venier.
The Young ‘Caps would have an immediate reply, levelling the match not a minute later through Kaylee Hunter, who slotted it past Miller thanks to a slick pass by Blundell. And despite Unity getting one last chance of the half and hitting the post, the two teams would go into halftime level with one a piece.
Whitecaps FC would start the second half in similar fashion to the first, with an early shot from Hernandez-Gray making Miller tip the effort over the goal. However, it would again be Hernandez-Gray involved in the go-ahead goal for the Whitecaps in the 52nd minute.
Her lofted ball would find Joy Kimwemwe, whose physicality would aid her muscle a challenge off and slot it into an empty net to give her team the advantage.
Hernandez-Gray continued to star as her slaloming run almost allowed Hunter to get a her second, but her effort from outside the box sailed high and wide.
Crowther nearly levelled it for Unity three-quarter of the way through the match, with her effort from just inside the box glancing past the far post.
Hernandez-Gray’s impression would be felt once again as she would win a penalty in the 82nd minute. Hunter would step up and tuck away the penalty for a brace and a two-goal lead for the young ‘Caps.
Unity would have one last chance through Taylor Morris in the dying moments, but Morris’ eventual shot would be comfortable for Venier. The final whistle would blow and grant the young Caps’ their back-to-back League1 BC trophy.
While the 'Caps will enjoy their victory, they will be back in action next weekend in search of one final trophy - which would be their fifth in the last two years - as they play in the League1 Canada Inter-Provincial Championship hosted in Langley at Willoughby Community Park. The 'Caps will player the champion from League1 Ontario this coming Friday, August 11 at 7 p.m. PT. The third place game and final will then be played on Sunday, August 13.
Referee: Sydney Berridge
36’ – UNI – Karlee Pedersen (Sophie Crowther)
37’ – VAN – Kaylee Hunter (Kierra Blundell)
52’ – VAN – Joy Kimwemwe (Jeneva Hernandez-Gray)
84’ – VAN – Kaylee Hunter (penalty kick)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite
30.Sidney Venier; 12.Jaime Perrault, 3.Iba Oching, 20.Keira Martin, 10.Sadie Brisbin (22.Tea Mayson 66’); 21.Jeneva Hernandez-Gray, 11.Noelle Sather (27.Mia Guterres 90’+3), 9.Kierra Blundell; 13.Joy Kimwemwe (28.Zahra Bains 66’ ), 26.Kaylee Hunter, 18.Emma Yee
Substitutes not used
31.Carly Uchacz, 17.Bridget Mutipula, 24.Keelyn Stewart, 25.Taegan Stewart
33.Hannah Miller; 9.Mya Bajpai (12.Danielle Cooper 88’), 4.Elizabeth Hicks, 11.Tilly James, 7.Karlee Pedersen; 24.Sierra Bergen (6.Kylie Hendricks 60’ (3.Lianna Holz 88’)), 13.Erin Stewart (20.Taylor Morris 60’); 18.Sophie Crowther, 5.Bryana Buttar, 22.Alanna Bekkering; 17.Charity Field (10.Izzy Pineda 60’)
Substitutes not used
1.Joven Sandhu, 8.Maddie Melnychuck