Boys soccer season ends in disappointment

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BY Ciaran Ayton

The Gulf Islands Secondary School senior boys soccer team had an eventful season that had highs and lows, lots of learning, fun times and disappointment at the end. 

North Islands were hosted at Brentwood on Nov. 1 and 2. After a poor first day where the boys started slowly and lost to Brooks and Brentwood, the boys beat Wellington 3-0 on the second day to advance to a playoff game against Ballenas. The boys fell behind to a wonder strike from outside the box, but rallied through a Bradon Nordine goal to make it 1-1 before half time. In the second half, GISS dominated against a tired Ballenas, and amazingly, Jaidyn Byron after three years of playing senior-level soccer, scored his first ever goal for GISS and sent the boys to Vancouver Island championships.

The tournament was hosted by Carihi in Campbell River and Courtenay on Nov. 8 and 9, and GISS were drawn in the tougher pool and as bottom seed. The first game saw Carihi, who are potential provincial winners, dominate and win by 3-0 with two of the goals scored from wonderful set plays.

The second game saw GISS face Stelly’s in a must-win game. GISS got a penalty within two minutes of the game after adventurous play by Owen Norgard saw him chopped down in the box. Unfortunately, luck was not on GISS’ side, and the resulting penalty shot crashed against the inside of the post and flew across the goal, but not in. GISS continued to dominate and then after 20 minutes or so, Stelly’s scored a screamer from 25 yards, with the shot evading the goal keeper and dipping just under the cross bar.

The second half was a battle with most of the traffic going towards the Stelly’s goal. The Stelly’s goalkeeper made two fine saves to deny Ben Shugar and keep Stelly’s hopes alive. 

With morale low, GISS faced Brentwood in their final game, needing a 1-0 win to progress to the third or fourth game. Having already lost to Brentwood twice that season, it was going to be tough. However, a great game took shape. Brentwood had possession roughly 60 per cent of the time, but GISS was dangerous on the break and found openings at times. With the score 0-0 at half time and bodies aching, the boys put everything in during the second half to keep Brentwood out and to try to snatch a goal. A half chance fell to GISS with five minutes to go but Brentwood’s keeper saved it. The clock ticked, the boys huffed and puffed, but that golden chance would not arrive, and when the ref blew the whistle the boys’ season was over.

Carihi went on to win the islands championships with a 2-0 win against St. Michael’s University School, while Brentwood would snatch the final provincial berth from Brooks with a 1-0 win in the game for third place. At the end of it all, the GISS boys were disappointed, but among those players who will return there was a determination that next year GISS would make the next step.

For the Grade 12s, this was their final action: Davin Norgard (four years), Coltan Archer (three years), Jaidyn Byron (three years) and Eric Berendt (two years). Well done to them, their contributions will be missed. 

The senior boys soccer team would like to thank those who provide them with the field and the mini bus.

The writer is the GISS senior boys soccer coach.

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