Oct. 28, 2018 – The Lethbridge College Kodiaks women’s soccer team ended a 24-year medal drought in dramatic fashion on Sunday, earning the ACAC bronze medal by defeating the Concordia Thunder in penalty kicks.
Goalkeeper Paige Gattafoni emerged as the Kodiaks hero, making three saves in the penalty round to lead her team to victory.
The medal is the Kodiaks first in women’s soccer since the program won the CCAA National Championship in 1994.
The north/south division foes played a tightly contested affair through 90 minutes, with both teams finding the back of the net once in regulation.
Lethbridge took an early eight minutes in, when Vicki Noronha scored her second goal of the tournament by knocking in a cross from Kayla Kehoe.
The Thunder responded with high pressure and finally struck for the equalizer in the 60th minute on a goal from Kyra Robinson.
Both goalies had to be sharp. Gattafoni made nine saves while Concordia keeper Monica Dickson turned away five Kodiaks shots on goal.
The game went straight into penalty kicks after regulation, which provided no shortage of drama.
Gattafoni made a first round stop, but Concordia keeper Monica Dickson made a second round save to draw the teams even.
Both teams scored in the third round, before Gattafoni gave her team the advantage by denying the fourth Concordia shooter with a diving save to her right.
The Kodiaks converted their fourth-round goal, setting up a magical moment for Gattafoni and her teammates.
Gattafoni denied the fifth Thunder shooter by making a striking save to her left. Bedlam ensued, with all Kodiaks personnel erupting in celebration at mid-field.
The medal caps a resurgent season for the Kodiaks women’s soccer program, who successfully bounced back from a second-to-last place finish in the ACAC south division a season ago.
The team also had to battle through plenty of adversity all season, including losing Payden Olsen and Maddy Folk to injuries.
Futsal around the corner
The bronze medalists will now take a couple of weeks to recover before turning their attention to the upcoming ACAC Futsal season. The Kodiaks are set to host the 2019 ACAC Futsal Championships later in March.