Surrey United women hoist provincial soccer cup for 11th year in row

Surrey United women hoist provincial soccer cup for 11th year in row

SURREY — Life counselors will say you should embrace change, that you should take a chance, try new things and that standing pat is a recipe for disaster.

Well, life counselors, Surrey United thinks you’re full of malarkey. 

Sunday afternoon on a soccer field at Burnaby Lake, as the sun inched ever closer to the horizon, the Surrey United women’s Premier team opted to stay the course and do precisely what they’ve done 11 years running: hoist the Provincial Cup.

They wouldn’t have it any other way.

Powered by a two-goal performance from veteran offensive stalwart Nicole Stewart – one in the first half, another in the second, both on goalmouth headers – United held a decisive possession advantage throughout, manufactured more dangerous scoring opportunities and, at the final whistle and the score 2-0, came together in a boisterous knot of soaked jerseys and smiling faces.

Seems this winning thing never gets old.

Though it wasn’t always easy. Goalkeeper Theresa Nuttall was called upon to make key saves in both halves, and the second frame in particular began with a strong push by opponent North Shore Renegades. But when Stewart headed in her second marker from an April Coffin corner, on a play where several players from both sides ended up inside the cage, the outcome never seemed in serious doubt.

Team manager Albert Stewart, who’s now overseen every United provincial title since 2008, liked what the Renegades brought to the table Sunday afternoon. 

“It was a clean game today,” he said. “We’ve come out of previous games (with the Renegades) with various knocks and injuries, but I was extremely impressed by the way they played today.”

Stewart credits grace under fire for his team’s continued success. 

“We’ve had a great core group for a long time now. We lose some to college, but then hopefully they come back after college. There’s a bit of a stigma attached to our team, where younger players feel they might not get a chance, but we actively look for new players to join the group.

“But ultimately, experience separates us,” Stewart added. “We don’t get flustered. Being down a goal or going through a rough patch doesn’t weaken our resolve.”

By virtue of the team’s Mother’s Day victory, United will travel to Vaughan, Ontario, for the national championships in October. In the meantime, much of the team will remain intact for the debut of the Premier spring season.

And what of the chances of a dozen straight provincial cups this time next year? That’s one area where standing pat would be just fine, thank you very much.