Holy Cross FC win the 2018 Newfoundland Labrador women's title

With files and photos from Colleen McConnell

Holy Cross FC won their third-consecutive Newfoundland Labrador women's provincial final to qualify for the 2018 Toyota National Championships Jubilee Trophy finals. The St. John's club won 2:1 over rivals Kirby United SC of Conception Bay South in the 18 August final at King George V Park.

Holy Cross capped off their perfect season on the province with the Saturday victory, the same rivals they beat two years ago in the 2016 Newfoundland Labrador final. Kirby United came out strong from the first minute of the 2018 final, but could not knock off the 2017 national bronze medal winners despite a relentless pursuit.

"The girls worked hard all year – finishing 15 and 0," said Paul Mullett, the Holy Cross FC assistant coach. "They deserved this, but all credit to Kirby: they played very, very well. We had our work cut out for us.”

Holy Cross drew first blood in the ninth minute on a header by Teri Murphy after the Maria Mackey corner kick. Kirby United then equalised in the 26th minute after Malorie Harris made no mistake when she found herself alone with only the goalkeeper to beat.

A very different Holy Cross team stepped onto the field in the second half: poised, patient and determined, yet continually frustrated by a Kirby defence anchored by veteran Nicole Moores and goalkeeper Sydney Walsh. While Holy Cross dominated the second half, in many ways, they made their own luck: their winning goal was scored on a Kirby own goal in the 76th minute.

“It has been 30 years since Holy Cross won the first national gold medal (in the 1988 men's Challenge Trophy finals,” said Mullett, “Thirty years to the day, so it’s time to go back and win another one. It’s time to bring it back, full circle. We had a good run last year. The girls know what it takes to be competitive at the national level, but they’ve got to work hard. They’re up for it.”

Holy Cross FC’s starting XI featured Jaime Crocker (goal), Paula Whitten (captain), Jessie Noseworthy, Holly O’Neill, Kaelyn Burke, Teri Murphy, Spencer Wilkins, Keisha Younge, Lauren Taylor, Maria Mackey, and Nicole Torraville.

Emily Bailey, Jennifer Bent, Kate Hickey, Kristen Jenkins, Jane Pope, Melissa Reid featured as substitutes. Anna AuCoin, Julie Crocker, and Noelle Stanford dressed but did not feature in the final; Kristen Lee (injured) and Sarah Wicks were unavailable.

At the 2018 Toyota National Championships in Saskatoon, Holy Cross FC will face the winners from Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia (Surrey United SC). The eight-team competition runs from 3-9 October.

Canada Soccer’s Toyota National Championships serves as our nation’s premier amateur competition, with the 2018 edition featuring more than 600 clubs from across the country competing for a spot at one of three locations: the men’s Challenge Trophy and women’s Jubilee Trophy finals in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; the boys and girls U-17 Cup finals in Surrey, British Columbia; and the boys and girls U-15 Cup finals in Laval, Québec. The Toyota National Championships provide a meaningful soccer experience for host cities and participating teams, as well as the players, coaches, support staff, officials, and volunteers. These competitions are complimented by both the Futsal Canadian Championship and the Canadian Championship featuring Canada’s professional clubs.