As Canada’s most successful female team sport on the Summer Games side, there have been no shortage of storylines for soccer.
At the university level, Emily Moore of Victoria is providing one of her own.
The UBC Thunderbirds goalkeeper, out of Esquimalt Secondary, has made a triumphant homecoming by backstopping her team to the U Sports national championship game today at 3 p.m. at Centennial Stadium.
It will be an all-Canada West final on a Canada West pitch against the Calgary Dinos, who won their national semifinal 3-1 Saturday against the Toronto Varsity Blues.
Moore was named player of the game as UBC blanked Acadia of Nova Scotia 1-0 in the earlier semifinal amid the sort of West Coast drizzle in which she grew up playing with the Island Wave, Victoria Highlanders and Gorge FC.
“There are so many family, friends, and former players I used to play with on the Island, who are in the stands watching me this weekend, and I want to make them all proud,” said the ‘keeper, who also attended the Canadian Sports School at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence on the Camosun Interurban campus.
The U Sports national final will be a rematch of the Canada West final, won 1-0 by the Dinos over UBC. Acadia and Toronto will play in the bronze-medal game at noon.
Moore grew up playing with and against several of the University of Victoria Vikes, including fifth-year goalkeeper Puck Louwes, who graduated from Reynolds.
“Puck and I played together on the Highlanders and know each other well,” said Moore, a fourth-year visual arts major, studying to be a graphic designer.
Louwes and the host Vikes will play for fifth place today at 10 a.m. against the Quebec champion Montreal Carabines. The Vikes and Carabines lost their quarter-finals before winning their consolation-side semifinals Friday.
“We’re disappointed not to be in the gold-medal game, but it is still a way for our fifth-year players to cap off their careers at home,” UVic coach Tracy David said. “We hope all the little girls in the stands cheering for the Vikes get a chance to play for us one day.”
Canadian soccer hall-of-famer David, a member of Canada’s first women’s national team in the 1980s, stressed the calibre on display this weekend.
“There are some very good players in U Sports who deserve a look from the national team,” said David, whose Vikes today will try to match their fifth-place finish at the 2017 U Sport nationals.
David pointed to the power in Canada West, which is guaranteed to have the top two teams in the country. “That is without Trinity Western even being here,” she said.
Trinity Western was 12-1-1 and had the best record in Canada West before being upset 1-0 by UBC on Moore’s clean sheet in the conference semifinals.
“Our league is very good,” David said.
The Thunderbirds and Dinos will show just how good this afternoon.