Brent Mutis, CapU Sport Information & Compliance Officer
A tale of two seasons. That pretty much sums up the way things went for Blues women's soccer in the 2019 season. Snakebitten with just four goals through the first six games, the team began the campaign with five losses and a draw. Third-year midfielder Claire Ye was a bright spot through the tough start; while none of the Blues' other offensive threats up front were able to generate much in the first six games, she scored half of the team's four goals.
That was until a weekend set against Langara which would prove to be a turning point in the Blues' season. In the first game, at home, Aynsley Hurtado scored twice including the game-winner – the first two goals of her CapU career – and Catrina Olstrom provided the other in a 3-2 victory. The next day, it was three graduating senior players – Natalie LeClerc, Jaimi MacCara and Brooklynn Doucette – each tallying a goal in a big 5-0 road win.
The pair of wins marked the start of a six-game unbeaten streak by the Blues to finish out the regular season. Going from a questionable playoff spot to pushing for second in the conference, the Blues outscored the opposition 12-2 during the streak and goalkeeper Darian Roussy posted four consecutive clean sheets, earning PACWEST Athlete of the Week honours on Oct. 8.
Ye would score twice more to finish with a team-leading four goals, including the only tally in a 1-0 home win Oct. 19 over VIU. It was the only loss of the season for the first-place squad.
Heading to the playoffs with momentum, the No. 3-seed Blues faced the No. 2 Douglas College Royals in the semifinal. CapU conceded in the 16th minute and trailed most of the game but it was veteran midfielder Brooklynn Doucette who drew level for the Blues in the 66th minute.
There would be no more scoring through full time, and two extra 15-minute sessions. After 120 minutes of play, the game headed to kicks with Roussy in the Blues goal and Tess Venables in net for the Royals
Each team's first three shooters were successful. The first stop was by Venables on Doucette. But Roussy stopped the next Douglas shooter and after a well-placed kick by first-year defender Julia Peyton to put the Blues ahead, Roussy stopped the final Royals attempt for a dramatic win.
The undefeated streak was up to seven games but that's where it would end. Exhausted after the extra-time game in the semifinals, the Blues had little left against a motivated VIU side in the gold-medal game. The Mariners showed their class and defeated CapU 6-1 to take the provincial title and move on to nationals where they took silver.
The Blues' provincial silver for 2019 was their third in as many seasons.
LeClerc and Dulong earned the CCAA's highest honour by taking Academic All-Canadian status for athletes with a grade-point average above 3.50 plus being named conference all-stars.
Claire Ye was named Top Forward at the PACWEST championships.
Natalie LeClerc finished her career in style as she was named the Blues Female Athlete of the Year in addition to her all-star selection and Academic All-Canadian honours. The Port Coquitlam native was a two-time CCAA National Scholar, a two-time Academic All-Canadian, a three-time Blues Scholar Athlete of Distinction recipient and was a three-time PACWEST silver medallist.
Darian Roussy played four years of Blues soccer and finished her degree in that time. The Surrey native was a two-time Blues Scholar Athlete of Distinction, a PACWEST Academic Excellence Award recipient and a three-time PACWEST silver medallist
Jaimi MacCara played five years of Blues soccer and was a three-time Blues Scholar Athlete of Distinction, a CCAA Academic All-Canadian, a two-time recipient of the PACWEST Academic Excellence Award, a PACWEST conference all-star and a three-time PACWEST silver medallist.
Brooklynn Doucette finished her career as a four-time Blues Scholar Athlete of Distinction, a two-time CCAA National Scholar, a three-time recipient of the PACWEST Academic Excellence Award, a PACWEST conference all-star, the 2019 CapU Scholar Athlete of the Year, a CCAA Academice All-Canadian and a three-time PACWEST silver medallist.
"Honestly, I think we were just in a funk at the beginning of the year. We've had this talent all year, it just hasn't come out. We started working as a team, we started working hard for each other. I think one day the mentality shifted and we were just confident going in… we go into tackles hard, we make passes like we've done our whole lives. It's just confidence I think."
- Claire Ye after an Oct. 19 win over VIU, part of a six-game unbeaten streak
"We gave up a little bit at the back but our players back there – Alanah Dulong, Adina Marx and Julia Peyton – handled it well and they're first year, first year and second year so it's a very young back line but they're doing their job which is nice to see for such young players."
- head coach Dennis Kindel after a 0-0 draw Oct. 5
"They're unbelievable. Nat, Jaimi, Brook... they were all very key players throughout the years. They turned the season around for us when we started off on a little bit of a slump. They all dug deep and got us all the way to the finals which is still a good achievement."
- Kindel on graduating fifth-year players Natalie LeClerc, Jaimi MacCara and Brooklynn Doucette