Feb. 20, 2016

By Ohio State goalkeeper Jillian McVicker

Nichelle Prince didn’t want just anything for her 21st birthday—she wanted a bid to the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics.

Prince’s birthday wish was granted as Canada qualified for the Olympics with a 3-1 win over Costa Rica in the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship semifinals Friday night at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. Christine Sinclair led the team with goals in the 18th and 52nd minute.

Penn State’s Raquel Rodriguez scored on a penalty kick for Costa Rica to close the gap to 2-1 in the 73rd minute but Canada added an insurance goal in the 86th minute when the birthday girl, Prince, ran onto a long kick from goalkeeper Erin McLeod. Prince, just four minutes into her play for the night, dribbled into the box and laid the ball off to a sliding Deanne Rose, assisting on the last goal of the match.

The Ajax, Ontario, native has notched 123 minutes for the Canadians in 2016, with three goals and two assists in her three matches played.

Canada advances to the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship final and moves to a 4-0 record in the tournament, conceding just one goal.

The United States posted a 5-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago with an Alex Morgan hat trick to lead the way, securing the U.S. a spot in the Olympics. Canada will face the United States in the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship game on Sunday at 5 p.m.