Late run nets 'Caps cup fever

It began with more of an Oww! than a bang.
Bad luck, in the form of injuries, put a dent in the hopes of the New Westminster Whitecaps as they trudged through the first few months of the Div. 1 fall girls soccer season.
But with the changing of the calendar, as well as a chance to recuperate and rejuvenate during the slate of winter cancellations, the ’Caps are now riding the wave.
New West locked up a berth into the Coastal B Cup semifinal with last week’s 1-0 overtime victory over Mission United.
It sets the stage for next week’s showdown with the North Shore Avalanche, with the winner advancing to the cup final.
Coupled with the earlier District Cup title, New West is assured of a berth to the provincial B tournament in July, which is being hosted in Burnaby.
“I didn’t ever expect a provincial cup (berth), (but) it was certainly something we hoped for,” remarked Whitecaps coach Andy Vlachos. “We got lucky a bit and then won the district (title), which got us the host berth.”
They defeated Cliff Avenue 1-0 in December, which also triggered the current win streak.
In the Coastal playdowns, New West vanquished the North Shore Fury 1-0 two weeks ago, also in overtime, on a goal by Vanessa Antunes on a set-up from Anna Vlachos.
The team beat Mission in similar fashion, going into the second overtime session before Diana Testani converted Sasa Chavas’ cornerkick for the winner.
Netminder Lana Taylor, meanwhile, was full marks for the clean sheet.
“We just kept attacking and had the flow of play for a lot of the game,” recalled the coach. “(Mission’s) goalie made a number of big saves, but (Taylor) had a huge stop in overtime that made it possible.”
New West began the season with four tough losses, as well as the loss of sweeper Jocelyn Richter, who was in the lineup last weekend for the first time since the season opener. They’ve also been without striker Daniela Testani for much of the year.
While advancing to the Coastal Cup final remains the next assignment, Vlachos says it won’t be easy in the April 28 match at Mercer Stadium. The Avalanche finished atop the league with a 9-0-3 record, while the ’Caps were in ninth, at 3-9-0.
“It’ll be a tough game, but our girls are confident. If we play it tough, play it tight, we can surprise.”

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