A thumping first-half goal propelled the Thunder women’s soccer team into the provincial finals on a high note as they defeated the St. Lawrence Vikings in the season finale at the Algonquin Soccer Facility on Oct. 21.

The Thunder’s pressure finally paid off in the 26th minute when forward Darby Perry turned in a low shot past Vikings keeper Samantha Turcotte to make it 1-0.

The Thunder never looked back as they cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Vikings.

“I think it’s really great that we were able to end the season off like that,” said Perry. “It’s the last game on our home field for this season, so it’s really great that we could hold it together and put the ball in the back of the net.”

Algonquin’s offense finally came back to life after playing in four straight one goal games.

“It’s been an odd stretch,” said Thunder head coach Dom Oliveri. “We’ve been winning some tight games but really they weren’t tight games, we were just missing a lot of chances.”

As a result, the Thunder are headed to the OCAA Provincial Championships in Peterborough Oct. 29-31 with targets focused squarely on their backs.

Algonquin ended the season ranked first in the OCAA and third out of all teams in Canada.

“We keep telling the players every day that the target keeps getting bigger,” said Oliveri. “The only way to reduce the target is to come out and keep working and show teams that were ready and willing for the challenge.”

The players understand that provincials will be the toughest challenge they’ve faced all season long.

“I think we need to hold it together as a team mentally and physically,” said Perry. “We’re playing three games in a row so it’ll be tough on our bodies and we’ll just have to encourage each other.”

Oliveri believes that this team has the ability to make history in this year’s post-season.

“We recruit to try and win a national championship,” said Oliveri. “We feel we’re real close. I think on any given day we can beat any team in the country. But you need the soccer gods to smile down on you once in a while to get a bounce here or there.”

The Thunder will open provincials on Oct. 29 at Fleming College in Peterborough. They will play the winner of a crossover game between the Sheridan Bruins and the Conestoga Condors.