Top News

UDFC ends Dunbrack's reign

Members of United Dartmouth FC pose with the NSSL Premier league banner and trophy after winning the title Saturday at the Wanderers Grounds in Halifax.
Members of United Dartmouth FC pose with the NSSL Premier league banner and trophy after winning the title Saturday at the Wanderers Grounds in Halifax. - Willy Palov

To be the best, you have to beat the best and that's what United Dartmouth FC did Saturday at the Wanderers Grounds.
UDFC got one goal early in the NSSL Premier league women's championship game and then hung on for a 1-0 win to stall Halifax Dunbrack's dynasty. Dunbrack had won nine of the previous 10 league titles, including the past six.
"They're obviously a great team and they have a lot of confidence and a lot of great players so it definitely feels sweet to add some new blood up at the top," said UDFC's Meghan Earle. "It's really exciting for us."
Dartmouth finished third during the regular season with a 10-7-1 record and then advanced to the championship game with a 2-0 upset over second-place Valley United. Dunbrack was tops in the season standings at 14-2-2 and eliminated No. 4 seed Highland FC 2-0 in the semis. 
The final wasn't exactly David vs. Goliath but the underdog UDFC earned full marks for executing a smart game plan to near perfection.
"I think if we were going to lose to anyone, I'm happy it was Dartmouth," said Dunbrack's Jenna Boudreau. "I think they deserved it the most. They came in and really had good tactics against us. They were marking us really well and knew how we played with our speed up front."
Earle swung the game for UDFC in the 17th minutes when she scored off a set piece. It put Dunbrack in the unfamiliar position of having to chase the game instead of controlling the momentum.
"It felt really good to get on the board first," Earle said. "We did well to win a corner and then the ball came in and I tried to get position closer to the keeper and closer to the line. I managed to get free from my mark and it just went a little off the head and a little off the shoulder and in."
But everyone at the field knew a one-goal cushion against a powerhouse like Dunbrack was not nearly enough for UDFC to breathe easily. The defending champs had all the pressure in the second half but couldn't break down the UDFC back line.
"The goal was midway through the first half so to keep that lead as long as we did, kudos to the great defensive work by the girls," Earle said. "And when you get a goal early like that, you need to keep that energy up. That was the biggest thing for us because we knew they were going to come hard after that.
"By the second half, you hope you're settled into the game and it's just making sure there's no panic. You're trying to stay calm, you're trying to stay confident and then you're trying to do things simple. If you have the choice between a risky pass and a safe ball up the field, you're playing that safe ball every time."
Dunbrack finished with a 10-1 edge in shots and lamented not being able to scoring the equalizer but said it was more a matter of strong play by Dartmouth than anything else.
"It was one of those games where you feel like you have all of the possession and all the momentum and you just can't finish," said Boudreau. "But that's kudos to Haley (Kardas) in net; she played a great game.
"They also have a tight line back there, especially with (Emily) Nickerson in the middle. Playing with her the past five years, it's not too fun playing against her. I see why people hate playing against her. She's really solid back there and she's a big reason they won."
UDFC will now represent Nova Scotia at club nationals in Newfoundland, Oct. 9-14.
"It's going to be fantastic," said Earle, who if from Mount Pearl, NL. "I haven't been to club nationals in a couple of years now and I'm originally from Newfoundland so it's going to be really fun to play at home again.
"I'm really excited for the girls. We worked hard for this and it really feels good for this to pay off. And we're going to nationals to compete, not just to be happy to be there."

Recent Stories