T-Birds kickoff U SPORTS title defence

T-Birds kickoff U SPORTS title defence

The defending U SPORTS national champion UBC Thunderbirds will embark on their title defence with a quarter-final battle against the Acadia Axewomen on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. (PST) in Sydney, Nova Scotia. UBC enters the U SPORTS nationals ranked fourth in the country after an historic season that saw fourth year forward Danielle Steer score the most goals in one season in Canada West history – including 15 regular season markers and three more playoff tallies to surpass the previous record of 17 total goals on the season.  


Along with Steer, first-year defender – and Canada West Rookie of the Year – Sophia Ferreira, and veteran goalkeeper Emily Moore each earned Canada West All-Star first team honours, while Katalin Tolnai was named to the second team. Ferreira and Ella Nuttall-Smith also earned All-Rookie team honours, as the T-Birds’ outstanding season was reflected in the conference-high six all-star and all-rookie selections heading into the postseason.


The Thunderbirds finished the regular season with just a single loss and a whopping eight clean sheets before earning back-to-back shutout victories over Regina and MacEwan in the Canada West playoffs to set up a finals showdown with the first-place Trinity Western Spartans. In the conference championship match, UBC surrendered a goal in the 88th minute and fell 1-0 to the U SPORTS top-ranked Spartans to capture silver for a second consecutive season.
“We have been really focussed on staying consistent with our attacking and defending principles and it is really paying off to the next level for the team,” said UBC head coach Jesse Symons. “The mindset and focus each and every training session has been superb. The spirit the team brings each and every day is exceptional and one that really motivates everyone in the program”
Symons’ squad is striving for a repeat of their most recent U SPORTS national championship tournament success with a strong mix of championship-calibre veterans and key additions to the T-Bird roster.

2019 U SPORTS Championship, Women's Soccer


“We have 14 returning players from 2019 at the event and are excited to use this experience to push us in the first match versus Acadia,” added Symons. “The experience does help with the routine of the week, but there are many different factors each and every national tournament that are new for everyone. The comfort and mindset of the group is clear, and we are very excited to put on our boots on Thursday and give it everything we have.”

Sophia Ferreira vs UBCO, Oct. 8, 2021


The Axewomen are ranked No. 8 in U SPORTS after finishing third in the AUS regular season and capturing the conference title with a 1-0 victory over St. FX.


“Acadia is a team that consistently gets to the National tournament, and we played them in the 2019 National Semi-Final,” continued Symons. “They have some strong players in different positions. They like to keep the ball and move it quickly, which we will need to make sure we manage. Overall, we have a talented, experienced team that is very motivated to start the event in Cape Breton. There is a lot of trust from the staff to the players and players to the staff. It will be an exciting first game on Thursday!”


Digital coverage of the U SPORTS championship tournament can be accessed on cbcsports.ca, the free CBC Gem streaming service, and the CBC Sports App.

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