There aren’t a lot of sure bets when it comes to sports, especially when it’s a one-game, all-or-nothing showdown.
But you could pretty much take this one to the bank.
To nobody’s surprise, Holy Cross Avalon Ford won the provincial women’s senior soccer championship Saturday, capping off an unbeaten season.
The Crusaders won their third straight Breen’s Jubilee Trophy championship with a 2-1 win over C.B.S. Kirby United at King George V Park.
To Kirby’s credit, they made a game of it, and lost it in heartbreaking fashion when Holy Cross striker Jane Pope’s pass deflected off a Kirby defender and past keeper Sydney Walsh, into the Kirby net in the 76th minute.
Wouldn’t you know it, that own goal stood as the game-winner.
“In soccer,” said Holy Cross coach Jake Stanford, “sometimes you just don’t know.”
Teri Murphy of Holy Cross opened scoring nine minutes in, before future Hall of Famer Malorie Harris evened things at 26 minutes. Harris is the second-highest scorer in the Jubilee Trophy nationals during last two decades with 29 points.
Walsh, the brilliant Kirby keeper, was named the playoffs’ MVP and winner of the Sherry Morrissey Award, while the Anne Woodford Award for most spirited and effective player was Pope.
It was the 16th win for Holy Cross against no losses this season. In 2017, the Crusaders lost only one game during a 13-1-2 campaign, and also went unbeaten in 2016, finishing with 18 wins and one tie.
Holy Cross now prepares for the national Jubilee Trophy championship Oct. 3-8 in Saskatoon, Sask.
That’s just over six weeks away. So what will Holy Cross be doing to stay sharp between now and then?
“Half of our team plays for Memorial, so we’ll be releasing those players to the Sea-Hawks,” Stanford said. “They’ll be well-trained in that program. We won’t see them until we re-convene three or four days before the nationals.”
And what about the players who are not playing varsity?
“That’s where (assistant coach) Kenny Jackson comes into play. He’ll be ensuring their fitness levels remain where they should be. We won’t have any issues there.
“So in addition to the fitness conditioning with Kenny, we’ll also be doing some training. We’ll get an exhibition game or two to get some touches on the ball, maybe with the St. John’s under-17s. And if not, we’ll do it ourselves.”
Holy Cross enters the Canadian championship as the defending bronze medallists after finishing third last year in Surrey, B.C., giving Newfoundland and Labrador its first-ever podium finish at the national senior women's soccer championship.
Next year, St. John’s is scheduled to play host to the Jubilee Trophy women’s and Challenge Cup men’s national championships.
Jubilee Trophy Champions
2003 — Guards
2004 — Mount Pearl
2005 — Sundance Sorella
2006 — Paradise Physiotherapy
2007 — Mount Pearl Electronic Centre
2008 — EPR Kirby/The Dock
2009 — EPR Kirby/The Dock
2010 — Holy Cross Kirby Group
2011 — Holy Cross Kirby Group
2012 — Holy Cross Kirby Group
2013 — C.B.S. Holy Cross Kirby Group
2014 — Kirby United
2015 — Kirby United
2016 — Holy Cross
2017 — Holy Cross Avalon Ford
2018 — Holy Cross Avalon Ford
Breen’s Jubilee Trophy 2018 award winners
Sandy Faulkner Award (regular season top scorer) — Jessie Noseworthy, Holy Cross
Rookie of the Year — Zoe Rowe, C.B.S.
Coach of the Year — Jake Stanford, Holy Cross
Joy Burt Award (regular season most spirited) — Cecilie Dumaresque, Mount Pearl
Raeleen Baggs Award (regular season MVP) — Jessie Noseworthy, Holy Cross
Jean Thompson Award (first-place regular season) — Holy Cross
Top defender — Keisha Young, Holy Cross
Jessie Noseworthy (Holy Cross), Malorie Harris (C.B.S.), Jane Pope (Holy Cross), Stacey Hanlon (Feildians), Rachel Kieley (Feildians), Teri Murphy (Holy Cross), Katie Joyce (C.B.S.), Keisha Young (Holy Cross), Paula Whitten (Holy Cross), Kathy Hurley (Feildians), Sydney Walsh (C.B.S.)