At this point, everyone in Kamloops knows that this will be Alanna Bekkering's final season of soccer at TRU.
Bekkering, one the best athletes to suit up for the WolfPack in recent memory, has an astounding number of accolades: all-Canadian, back-to-back scoring leader of the Pacific Western conference, two-time all-star, two-time playoff MVP, two-time conference player of the year and 2012 Kamloops Sports Council female athlete of the year, to name a few. She was also named the conference's player of the week for the third time this season earlier in the week.
But what has escaped the eyes of many is the friendships Bekkering will be leaving behind when her career comes to a close in the next couple of weeks, most notably the one she shares with fellow midfielder Bronwyn Crawford.
Crawford and Bekkering have shared their soccer careers; the two first started playing together at 10 years old and have moved up the ranks together. Heading into their final provincial championship as teammates this weekend, it could be the last time they'll share the same soccer pitch.
"Every time I think about this weekend I don't even think that this could possibly be our last weekend, I just cant imagine this being my last two games with Alanna," Crawford said Thursday.
She added that the opportunity to play together again at nationals is inspiring her all the more to bring home the gold medal on the weekend.
"That's a huge motivation for, I think, both of us, just not wanting to let go," she said. "Soccer has been the biggest part of our lives since we were little . . . it's just coming to a head."
Bekkering and Crawford's relationship has bled into their play over the years and head coach Tom McManus says they've been dynamite for him in the middle this season. Crawford has had her best offensive season to date, with four goals in 14 games, and was named to the all-star team for the second-consecutive year.
Bekkering was the one who phoned Crawford to inform her of the honour they would yet again share and Crawford said that made it mean that much more to her.
"I don't think we've ever been closer," Bekkering said. "With every team I've been on I've always built chemistry with the majority of my teammates but there's something with Bronwyn . . . there's a weird chemistry. We can just look at each other and know where to place the ball."
Bekkering describes Crawford as a selfless, approachable friend, while Crawford is awed by how hard Bekkering works. Their university careers didn't start together, Crawford went to McMaster University and Bekkering the University of Victoria, but it was their friendship that drew them back together, in Kamloops.
But time flies and their time as teammates is set to come to a close again, soon.
"I think that's actually the hardest part about it," Bekkering said. "Seventy-five per cent of the reason I came back to Kamloops . . . was because of the girls. Bronwyn was playing at TRU and (former WolfPack captain) Blair MacKay was still playing here and I just wanted to continue my years with them."
So heading into the final weekend of the Pacific Western conference's season, with their first game against the Langara College Falcons on Saturday, the girls are hoping to make things last a little longer, to put off that final goodbye one more time.
"We've had such an amazing year," Crawford said, "especially being able to share being captain with her, this year was really special."