Supina's PK winner lifts Griffins to 1-0 victory in surprisingly tough battle with winless UNBC

Hannah Supina gets around a UNBC defender on Sunday. The Griffins captain scored the game-winner off a PK in the 71st minute (Rich Abney photo).
Hannah Supina gets around a UNBC defender on Sunday. The Griffins captain scored the game-winner off a PK in the 71st minute (Rich Abney photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – In a battle between teams on opposite ends of the standings, the winless UNBC Timberwolves gave the one-loss MacEwan women's soccer squad an unexpected tooth-and-nail battle before the Griffins emerged with a hard-fought 1-0 victory on Sunday.

Hannah Supina's successful penalty kick in the 71st minute stood up as the difference as MacEwan improved to 7-1-1, rebounding with a notch in the win column after a loss at UBC on Friday.

After half-time sub Mariah Arnott was taken down in the box, Supina made no mistake, firing it past diving UNBC keeper Brityn Hinsche into the left corner.

"Mariah was such a spark for us," said Griffins head coach Dean Cordeiro. "She went in at half-time, was just all over the pitch. She went into the area looking for a ball and got taken down. We got rewarded with a PK and our captain stepped up for us; it's great to see her get on the end of that penalty."

Supina was named player of the game for the Griffins, not only because of the goal, but also her play on the defensive end as a key member of MacEwan's elite back line.

Goalkeeper Sabrina Alexander made six saves and now has seven wins and three-and-a-half shutouts this season.

Although MacEwan outshot UNBC 21-8 (15-6 on goal) and carried the lion's share of the play, the game was very much in doubt until the late stages.

"On the road it's always tough," said Cordeiro. "Credit UNBC. Neil (Sedgwick – head coach) has done a terrific job. They had a great response today. They pressed well, they counter-attacked well and they did a lot of things to make things difficult. But we kind of had them on the ropes early on. We had some really good chances, and it just didn't come. Credit their keeper. She made some big saves."

MacEwan saw some solid early chances go unconverted and had to rely on their game-changers in the second half to get a result.

"When you keep teams in the game, you know it's always going to be a fight," said Cordeiro. "That's what we had on our hands. I thought we were unlucky not to get a couple more, but that's the game sometimes. We only needed one today."

Cordeiro not only singled out Arnott for her terrific play in the second half but gave a shout out to his other bench players who came in and put in a shift to help secure the three points.

"I thought our game-changers today lifted us," he said. "We talked about Mariah coming in at half-time and Nicky Noble made an immediate impact. She got into the match, followed by Avery Brisebois and Emma Clark. All of them really stepped up today when we needed. We got fresh legs out there to help our play and we saw the game out."

The Griffins return home for a pair of home-and-home matches against cross-town rival Alberta (3-4-3) – Sept. 30 at Foote Field (12 p.m.) and Oct. 1 at Clarke Stadium (7 p.m., both Canada West TV).

"Victories are crucial at this time of the year and they're harder to come by," said Cordeiro. "Everyone's fighting for their playoff lives in a lot of cases with tables being as tight as they are. We know every game we're getting the opponents' best. We've got to be up for the challenge. We want to continue to separate ourselves from the rest of the pack."