Manitoba has never reached the podium in women’s soccer at the Canada Games and after the team’s 2-0 loss in Tuesday’s quarter-final, that streak will continue.
Alberta dominated the possession for the entire game, but Manitoba was able to keep it close for quite a while thanks to their goalie, Anna Biebrich. She made several huge saves to keep her team in the game, but in the extra time of the first half, Biebrich couldn’t hold off the Alberta attack any longer.
Aliya Coy was able to sneak past a pair of defenders to score the game-winning goal for Alberta. Alberta added another goal in the 63rd minute when Caleigh Boeckx scored off of a penalty kick.
"(Alberta) is mostly 18-year-olds, so I was expecting it to be a very hard game. They really did work us. I’m glad we worked our hardest, though," the 16-year old Biebrich said.
Biebrich said even though the medals are off the table, the team is still motivated to finish the tournament strong and they hope to win the consolation side.
"It kinda sucks we’re not in the medal round, but hey, it’s better than nothing," said the goalie.
The team has had a lot of support all week with tons of fans coming out to watch. Biebrich says she has never played in front of so many people before and that it took her a couple of games to get used to the atmosphere.
"When I first came out, I was like, ‘Oh my.’ But now I like it. It’s more pressure, but I like the pressure. It’s one of my favourite parts of being a goalie," Biebrich said.
Seventeen-year-old defender Taylor Reynolds was another bright spot for Team Toba. She broke up several of Alberta’s scoring chances to keep the game in reach. She says the loss to Alberta stings, but she’s looking forward to Manitoba’s next opponent — Saskatchewan.
"(Saskatchewan) has always been our competition, I used to live in Saskatchewan so I even know some of the girls on the team," Reynolds said.
The battle of the Prairies will take place today at the Ralph Cantafio Soccer Complex at 4:30 p.m. Whoever wins will play for fifth place against the winner of Team B.C. and Team P.E.I. The consolation final is set for Thursday at 1 p.m.
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Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.