The first month of the 2023 League1 BC season is done and dusted and it’s been an interesting start to the league’s second season in the women’s division, with three powerhouse teams seemingly running away with the top of the table while the other five battle for what looks to be the one remaining postseason berth available.
Unbeaten Nautsa’mawt and Unity top the table, banging in plenty of goals along the way, while last year’s inaugural champions, the Vancouver Whitecaps Girls Elite, are very much in the mix and have a game in hand on the top two and still four matches to play against them.
The unbalanced start to the season has seen five teams play five games over the month, while two have played six, and new girls on the block Harbourside FC have already reached the halfway point of their regular season with seven games already under their belts.
With the top four teams making the postseason playoff, positioning has never been more crucial in the league’s short history. Here’s how the table is looking at the end of May:
Here’s a team by team breakdown of how the first month of action has played out:
(Please note that some of the goalscorers noted on the league website are incorrect, so may not match what we have listed here. We have meticulously gone through every game noting scorers and assists as we feel it is vitally important to have these correct for the players.)
(1ST) NAUTSA’MAWT FC
Leading the way in the standings are a rampant Nautsa’mawt side, keen to avenge last year’s championship game defeat against the Whitecaps when they were branded as Varsity FC.
The UBC based side remain unbeaten after their first six matches, recording two wins against Harbourside as well as victories over TSS, Rivers, and the Highlanders. Their only points dropped came on Victoria day in the entertaining 2-2 draw with the also undefeated Unity.
The team have racked up a staggering league-leading 30 goals in their first six matches while conceding just seven, joint second best in the league. Showing how strong the depth of the side is, 15 different players have found themselves on the scoresheet for Nautsa’mawt so far this season, with last year’s leading scorer Katalin Tolnai continuing to lead the way with nine goals and Jenna Baxter next with four.
12 different players have also contributed assists, with Emma Hooton, Jade Taylor-Ryan, Olivia Ahern, Baxter, and Tolnai leading the way with two each.
(2ND) UNITY FC
Nipping at Nautsa’mawt’s heels are the also unbeaten Unity, who currently sit two points behind the league leaders with a record of four wins and two draws.
Both teams have only conceded seven goals so far this season, but Unity haven’t been putting up quite the big numbers as Nautsa’mawt in terms of goalscoring, averaging just three a game instead of five with 18 goals!
Seina Kashima leads the scoring for Unity with four goals, while Sophie Crowther and Bryana Buttar have three apiece. Eight other players have found the back of the net for Unity so far this season.
(3RD) WHITECAPS GIRLS ELITE
Inaugural League1 BC champions the Whitecaps ended their membership of the unbeaten club when they went down to a 2-1 defeat at home to TSS on Saturday. They currently sit third in the standings but have a game in hand on the top two and haven’t played either of them yet.
They also boast the second best goalscoring record in the league with 19 goals scored and the best goals against record with just five conceded.
11 different players have scored for the Whitecaps so far, with Anna Hauer and Mya Archibald leading the way with three each, while Ava Jackson and Kierra Blundell have two apiece. Blundell also leads the team with four assists, while last year’s championship game hero Jeneva Hernandez-Gray has two.
(4TH) ALTITUDE FC
Altitude’s women’s team has certainly had a much better start to the season than their men counterparts and currently sit in the fourth and final playoff spot in the standings after their first five matches with a record of three wins and two defeats for their nine points.
The team started the season well with a 2-1 opening day victory in Kamloops against Rivers. A 2-1 home loss to Unity and a 5-1 beating at the Whitecaps followed, which belied their performance, but they have bounced back well from those defeats and have won their last two matches at home – 3-0 against Rivers and 1-0 this past Sunday against Harbourside.
Seven players have found the back of the net for Altitude so far this season, with German midfielder Charlotte Ring leading the way with two goals and an assist. The Hughes-Goyette sisters, Allie and Aurora, have one goal each, as do Avery Tulloch, Billie Shostak, Holly Tarves, and Lulie MacFarlane.
It’s hard to see any of the top three not being in the end of regular season playoff picture, so it’s a case of the other five sides battling it out for that one remaining spot. Right now, it’s Altitude’s to lose, with the back-to-back matches against TSS coming up this month likely to prove crucial as to whether they stay there by the end of July.
(5TH) TSS ROVERS
Missing a slew of college players to start the season, it’s been a tough go of it so far for Chelsey Hanneson’s side. With just one point to show from their first four matches, thanks to a 1-1 draw against Harbourside in their home opener, TSS finally got their first win of the new season on Saturday, coming from behind to beat the Whitecaps 2-1.
That was their first road game of the year and they’ll need to find a way to win away from home with six of their last seven matches being away from Swangard Stadium due to renovations at the venue. They should still be battling for that fourth playoff spot come the end of the season and if they can take nine points from their next three matches, one against Rivers this weekend then a home and away series with Altitude, they should be in pole position to do so.
TSS have been kept off the scoresheet twice in their first five matches, while failing to register a clean sheet themselves. Goals have also been a struggle to come by, with just five to their name from five different scorers – Madi Elcombe, Nikki Virk, Jessica Merk, Delana Friesen, and Kyara Armenta.
The new girls on the block are already halfway through their inaugural season having crammed seven matches into their first month, and although they are sitting just two places back of the playoff places, with a five point gap and games running out, it feels like the Nanaimo side will basically need to win out the second half of their season to be even in with a chances of making the postseason.
An away win at TSS and a home draw in the first L1BC Island derby against Highlanders is all the points they have to show for their efforts just now, with defeats by Unity, Altitude, and the Whitecaps on their record as well as two back-to-back maulings by a rampant Nautsa’mawt side that saw them go down 7-1 at UBC and then 8-0 the following afternoon back in Nanaimo.
The standout performer for Harbourside has been Emma Skalik. The UVic Vikes midfielder leads the team with three goals and one assist, with Ava Alexander, Jazmine Wilkinson, Maddy Dawson, and Shea Battie all adding one goal each.
(7TH) VICTORIA HIGHLANDERS
The Highlanders women have had a much different start to their male counterparts, failing to register a single win so far this season. Ironically they have scored one more goal than the men (5), but have conceded 10.
What the team can perhaps take positives from is that they have drawn three of their first five games (against TSS, Harbourside, and Unity), losing to only the Whitecaps in their season opener and Nautsa’mawt this past Sunday, two of the division’s strongest sides. If they can make home advantage pay, with four of their last six games in Victoria, then they could yet make a late push for that fourth playoff place.
Like the men, all of the Highlanders goals have come from different players with Mara McCleary, Paige Payne, Meagan Faulkner, Kjera Hayman, and Taiya Scorey all finding the back of the net. Faulkner also leads the team with two assists.
(8TH) RIVERS FC
It’s been a very tough start to the season for Rivers, who sit pointless at the foot of the table, with their playoff hopes looking like a distant memory already just five games in.
Two losses to Altitude and one each to the Whitecaps, Nautsa’mawt, and Unity makes the rest of the season look a tall order and with all the travel they have to endure, one which I’m sure will also test them mentally.
They’ve conceded 25 goals so far, the joint most in the league alongside Harbourside, who have played two more games. They have been scoring, notching six so far from five different scorers, with Esi Lufo leading the way with two goals.