Soccer player

Springbank footballer reflects on college team’s Cinderella season

Bella Geremia, an 18-year-old student-athlete from Springbank and 2022 graduate of the Edge School for Athletes, recently wrapped up what has been a successful and drama-filled first season with the women’s soccer team at the Thompson Rivers University (TRU).

Although it ultimately ended a step shorter than she would have hoped, a Springbank college football player is rejoicing in her new team’s record-breaking achievements in 2022.

Bella Geremia, an 18-year-old student-athlete from Springbank and 2022 graduate of the Edge School for Athletes, recently completed her first season on the Thompson Rivers University (TRU) women’s soccer team.

And what a first season it has been, as Geremia and her teammates enjoyed a historic campaign in 2022, winning more games than any TRU WolfPack team before them, and qualifying for the Canada West Women’s Soccer Playoffs for the second time only in the Kamloops school. the story.

The curtain finally closed on the WolfPack’s 2022 campaign in the bronze medal game against the University of Calgary Dinos. Because they lost the game 3–0, the WolfPack season ended and the Dinos qualified as the third seed in the Canada West Conference for the ensuing USPORTS National Championships in Quebec.

Geremia noted that the 2022 season didn’t start well for the WolfPack, but after a pair of losses in early September, the team quickly found their footing.

“Our opening weekend at home, we had two losses. But after that weekend, we restarted and went on a six-game unbeaten streak, which was a first for the program,” he said. She said “Six of those points came from two away games – against Lethbridge and Mount Royal – so that was huge for the program.”

Despite not seeing the pitch in the WolfPack opener, Geremia played 65 minutes in the game that followed at right-back. Although it was her very first experience of college soccer, she played well and won player of the game honors.

After this accolade, Geremia was a regular player for TRU. She assisted on two goals and recorded playing time in 12 games, either in the starting 11 or coming off the bench in the latter stages of a game.

“It was just about keeping my head down, working hard and proving that I could be on the pitch with the team.”

As the positive season continued, the Edge School graduate said the team’s fight and grit was what propelled the WolfPack into the Canada West playoffs with a 6-6 record- 2. This meant that TRU set a team record for most wins, most consecutive wins, most goals scored and fewest goals conceded in a season.

“We were also a pretty close team, so that helped,” Geremia said. “We wanted this year to be historic and we proved it.”

With the playoffs underway, TRU upset the odds by advancing to the last four in Canada West with a dramatic win over the Mount Royal University Cougars on October 29.

What happened to happen to the last four sounds straight from a Hollywood script: Playing the division-leading MRU Cougars in Calgary, the WolfPack lost 3-0 after the first half, but pulled themselves together to reduce the deficit to 3-2.

Then TRU managed to equalize with one of the game’s very last kicks to send it into overtime.

Geremia, who played in his usual place at right-back, played a key role in the last gasp goal.

“I saw my centre-back – who was actually playing the striker at the time – running, and she shouted ‘Pass me the ball!’ she recalled “I just threw the ball down the field and she was lucky to put a toe on it and knock it into the net. I didn’t realize it until everyone starts screaming.

Because she was on a yellow card, Geremia was substituted before the start of extra time, as another yellow would have sent her off and reduced the WolfPack to 10 players.

As the game headed towards the dreaded penalty shootout uncertainty, she said she cheered on her teammates from the touchline as they made their way to the penalty spot.

“Our hearts were all beating very fast. As soon as [Allie Shiyuk] kicked the last pen and it went into the net, it all felt so surreal,” she said.

It was ultimately a highlight of the WolfPack’s 2022 season, as the team’s quest for Canada West gold ended in the semi-finals the following week. They came close but lost a heartbreaker to the Trinity Western University Spartans in overtime on November 4, which knocked them out of the championship.

According to Geremia, the narrow 2-1 defeat was hard to swallow given TRU’s persistence. She noted that the Spartans won it with a goal late in the second half of extra time.

“We were so close. One of our team’s midfielders got in a strike and the Trinity Western keeper made a great save,” she said. “It took us out of the gold medal game. We were so close. And I think next year we can be even closer.

While the WolfPack still had a shot at qualifying for the USPORTS Nationals as Canada West’s third seed, their quest to do so ended with the aforementioned bronze medal loss to the Dinos.

“We played hard, it just wasn’t the performance we wanted,” she said of the 3-0 loss.

But with a week to go until the season’s unfortunate conclusion, Geremia said TRU players were already thinking about the 2023 season. With a young roster, she said there would be plenty of positive momentum to build on. .