There’s no doubt they had the try and the desire.
The New Westminster Rush just didn’t have enough bodies, when it came right down to it.
The Metro Women’s Soccer League’s Classic 2 powerhouse Rush suffered their first loss in a Cup final on Sunday, falling 2-1 to Delta United.
It ends a five-year win streak in the title match, where the squad had a strong track record of rising for the challenge to bring home the hardware.
“It was a hard pill to swallow, considering how hard the team played,” remarked New West coach Gord de Graaf. “Losing sucks at any level. You get a taste of winning and you want it to go on forever.”
When the two teams met early in the regular season, the Rush were without their starting goalkeeper and only had nine players on the field, resulting in a 2-0 win for Delta.
Although they had the numbers, New West was without one of its key leaders – Liz Porter – as well as another starter serving a red card suspension from the previous game.
The Rush got on the board first, thanks to Kelly Di Stefano’s team-leading 14th goal of the season.
New West, which finished second during the regular season with a 9-2-2, one-point back of first place Abbotsford and tied with Delta, held the lead entering the second half. That’s when the game changed course.
De Graaf said it all came unraveled after Delta tied it, and his team seemed to run out of gas.
“We were gassed,” he said. “When you’re missing key drivers it’s hard enough. The sun came out, it warmed up and I thought it was going to be tough to get the jump back.”
The Rush have been a power in the Div. 2 circuit since making the jump from Div. 3 a handful of years ago.
Founded by a bunch of New West Secondary grads looking to stay connected, the team has demonstrated heart and talent in establishing a mini-dynasty.
“You don’t have to push them. They have an amazing work ethic and really gelled from the first moment they came together,” said de Graaf.
“I hope the entire team is back next year, because I know they want to get back (to the final) again.”