The Aldergrove Secondary Totems senior soccer boys made some local history when took on some of B.C.’s strongest competition at the provincial championships this past week in Burnaby.
The team didn’t make the championship podium but were satisfied with well-played games and a final win in the school’s first-ever foray to the AA B.C. Soccer Championships.
Game one on Monday, Nov. 19, was a 4-2 loss to Sentinel of Vancouver. The boys struggled to get their groove physically and mentally as the team arrived five minutes before kick-off, due to some scheduling mixups.
“To their credit they never quit even when they went down 4-0 at one point,” said coach Brian Hunter, adding that he was “very proud of how they responded and battled back to make it 4-2. If there had been more time they could have equaled their opposition.”
Game two looked like it would be a win as they took a 1-0 lead in the first five minutes, capitalizing on a defensive miscue by the LV Rogers (Nelson) goaltender and showed composure in a very physical match. However, as the game was closing out, injuries started to take their toll and the Nelson team kept attacking and were finally rewarded for their efforts by tying the game with about seven minutes to go.
“A bit of heartbreak for the moment but as the team has done all season, they were very positive with one another and looked to regroup,” said Hunter.
On Tuesday, the Totems took on the eventual provincial champions, Okanagan Mission, and played one of their best games in the tournament. The Totems lost a squeaker, 1-0, while coming very close to tying the game on two successive plays late in the game only to be stymied by great goaltending plays.
The loss placed Aldergrove in a tie for third place with LV Rogers, who they had tied the previous day 1-1. In an interesting ruling, the teams were considered tied even though the Aldergrove team had a a better goals difference, fewer goals allowed and scored more goals than their competitors from Nelson.
So the boys were dragged out of the showers and up onto the playing pitch to compete in a shootout to determine who would be placed third and who would be placed fourth in the group standings. The Totems lost 5-4 on shots as the LV Rogers keeper made a save on the fifth shot.
Aldergroves fourth game of the tourney was against Carihi High from Campbell River. Again Aldergrove played a very good game but the ball was not going in the net. Posts, crossbars, and some timely goaltending provided the difference as Carihi High Tyees notched one tally to take the game, 1-0.
Wednesday, the last day of the tournament, had Aldergrove matched up against DP Todd of Prince George. The Totems opened the game with a very fast pace and caught the northerners off guard with a quick attack that resulted in a goal for the local squad.
The game settled in, with the teams exchanging attacking forays only to be shut down with good defending. Then Aldergrove started to take the flow of the game but it looked like it was going to be deja vu with the goal scoring problems. In one five minute segment the Totems hit two goal posts a cross bar and the goalie made a great diving save. Not letting up the pressure Aldergrove was finally rewarded with three unanswered goals to eventually take the game 4-0.
The team then gathered to hold a small team awards recognizing players they felt deserved recognition for their efforts throughout the season. In a players’ vote, the five players honoured by their peers were Joel Waterman, Wes Lockhart, Victor Andrade, Adam Schonewille and Brad Wightman. Gurmaan Jhaj was given the Commissioners Sixteen Award, which is given to the team’s tournament MVP for each participating team.
The team also consisted of Gurshaan Jhaj, Tanner Cummisky, Josh Power, Pietro Romegoli, Darrien Kristensen, Jonah Miller, Jaskran Brar, Alex Snowdon, Will Sitter, Ryota Shiono and Kyle Brewer.
“Special thanks go out to all the families that braved the weather and traffic over the new bridge to support the team in this competition and the season, the school administration and staff for their great support of the team throughout, and the community soccer coaches who spend countless hours volunteering to develop such fine young people on and off the field,” said Hunter.
“The players were fantastic ambassadors for the school and community and were honoured at the closing ceremonies by being presented the Fair Play Award. The award was selected through the panel of referees, opposing coaches and tournament executives. Congratulations, Aldergrove, a job well done!”