Sports

Rookie shines for Thunderbirds

Alyssa Williamson was named Canada West rookie of the year after a stellar season in goal for the UBC Thunderbirds. - Bob Frid/UBC Athletics
Alyssa Williamson was named Canada West rookie of the year after a stellar season in goal for the UBC Thunderbirds.
— image credit: Bob Frid/UBC Athletics

Thrown right into the fire, Ally Williamson has acquitted herself quite nicely.

The rookie goalkeeper for the UBC Thunderbirds women’s soccer team led the Canada West conference in both save percentage (.939) and goals against average (0.29).

And on Thursday, the R.E. Mountain graduate was named the Canada West rookie of the year. She played her club soccer with Langley FC.

“Ally had come in and done a remarkable job,” said UBC coach Mark Rogers.

“The amount of clean sheets and the lack of goals she conceded was very impressive and she made some very impressive saves along the way.”

Williamson was also named a second team all-star.

While there may be a learning curve for a first-year university player, Williamson said there was no real secret to her success.

“I came to UBC and had in mind that I wanted to come in and work as hard as I could,” said the 18-year-old.

“I wanted to prove that I could become a starter.”

Williamson said the adjustment to university soccer was pretty smooth, thanks in large part to her involvement with the Vancouver Whitecaps prospects program.

She moved from Langley FC to the Whitecaps last season, going from training twice a week to training nearly every day.

The award was a pleasant surprise.

“Winning rookie of the year means a lot,” she said.

“It shows the accomplishments that I’ve been able to make throughout my first year, but also tells me the expectations that I want to live up to next year.”

UBC finished second in the Canada West at 11-1-2 and allowed a league-low five goals in 14 matches.

They also had 11 shutouts, and Williamson was in goal for eight of those.

The Thunderbirds, who were ranked third in the country, lost in penalty kicks to the Alberta Pandas in the Canada West semifinals on Friday at Rogers Park on the Trinity Western campus.

Williamson did not play in that game, but did make two saves in a 2-1 win over the Victoria Vikes in the bronze medal match.

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