Ah, the signs of spring â€” robins chirping, flowers blooming and Surrey United womenâ€™s soccer team collecting trophies.
It was business as usual for the Cloverdale powerhouse Sunday in Burnaby as the 10-time defending champions edged Richmond 1-0 to capture the Metro Womenâ€™s Soccer Leagueâ€™s League Cup championship.
The lone goal of the game came in the 39th minute when Ari Adams was brought down roughly inside the 18-yard box. Kate Qually stepped up for the ensuing penalty kick and calmly delivered a precise strike into the lower left corner of the Richmond goal and the goalkeeper dove in the wrong direction.
â€œIt was an ugly game and an ugly win,â€ said Surrey manager Albert Stewart. â€œIt a solid performance for us, but wasnâ€™t a super game for either side and there werenâ€™t a lot of scoring chances. It was just one of those games that turned into a battle of the midfield with very few shots on net.â€
Defender Chelsey Hannesson was named the MVP of the final while Stewart singled out Caitlin Young for her efforts in the victory.
The League Cup win was crucial for Surrey as it clinches one of the top two seeds in the upcoming Provincial Cup tourney. Surrey currently trails the North Shore Renegades by a single point in the MWSL premier standings, but United has two games in hand. The snowfalls of late February and early March have left the teams with little chance of making up the extra games before the Provincial Cup draw took place Monday night in Burnaby.
Stewart said league officials indicated to him that Surrey should finish in first place once the missing games are pro-rated, but even if that doesnâ€™t happen, the League Cup win ensures the Cloverdale girls will be seeded no less than second for the provincial tournament.
â€œI canâ€™t say 100 per cent that weâ€™re the number one seed, but it certainly looks like we might be,â€ Stewart said. â€œAt worst we get the number two seed for winning the League Cup and that works out for us. It was an important win because we needed to make sure we are one of the top two seeds. Now it doesnâ€™t matter if North Shore is seeded one or two because they are going to be on the other side of the draw from us.
â€œIf we had lost the League Cup final and we didnâ€™t get first place in the league, it could have given us a much tougher Provincial Cup draw. Itâ€™s possible we might have gotten the Renegades much earlier in the tournament.â€
The higher seed also means Surrey will most likely get a bye in the first round of the Provincial Cup and wonâ€™t play their first game until the weekend of April 19.