In 1996, Carihi Senior Girls defeated Cowichan to win their first AAA North Island Championship.
Two decades on and once again the Tyees faced off against Cowichan. Once again the Tyees earned the win to claim their tenth AAA North Island Crown.
The Tyees made a somewhat nervous start and uncharacteristically gave possession up on more than one occasion. Such nerves were to be settled in the 14th minute when Emma Skalik pounced upon a cross turned in by Abbie Simms and calmly placed the ball past the oncoming keeper. Six minutes later it was Jolyn Barley who turned well in the 18 and stroked the ball into the corner of the net. Skalik scored her second and the third goal of the game after a composed finish. Carihi had now firmly settled into their passing game and Macayla Gray and Charlie Borrie were instrumental in much of the positive movement going forward. A superb left-footed cross from Skalik was just missed by Tanisha Maltilpi who had made a great far post run. Nyla Haider almost increased the lead by some excellent defending prevented her getting a shot away in a goal mouth scramble.
Despite having the lions share of possession, this young Cowichan team demonstrated on a number of counter attacks they possessed some excellent pace. Holding midfielder Hayley Wingert had to be smart in her positional understanding to reduce the impact of the pacey players. The warning sign came in the 36th minute when a surging run from midfield saw a strong shot that was heading into the net until keeper Haley Hunter made a fine save. The ensuing corner was whipped in with ferocity and uncomfortably dealt with by the Tyee defence. Cowichan pounced on the clearance and again broke through before Hunter, in a brave attempt to win the ball, caught the foot of the Cowichan attacker which resulted in a penalty kick being awarded. It was dispatched with confidence and the half time score line was 3-1.
The goal stung the Tyees and they came out with renewed determination as the second half began. Their passing was quicker and it wasn’t long before Skalik earned her hat trick after pouncing upon a loose ball from the keeper after a long range effort from Simms evaded the keeper’s grasp. However Cowichan were again to reduce the deficit as they broke in an excellent fashion and clawed the lead back to two again with a superb finish from a tight angle. This would be the last time they would breach the defensive backline of Emily Dreger, Alexis Geiblehaus, Megan Robertson and Kaitlyn Dreger. Skalik scored her fourth and Carihi’s fifth after 62 minutes, bringing the score to 5-2. Sarah Bains almost added to the scoreline in the dying minutes but, once again, some excellent defending prevented a certain goal.
Carihi head to Victoria this week knowing they will need to play their best soccer of the year to claim a top-two spot at the AAA Island Championship. Their group includes Claremont and Oak Bay, who have previously beaten Carihi 2-0 earlier this year. The AAA Island Championship sees eight very strong teams and only the top two will head to Vancouver for the provincial championship later in the month. If the Tyees can achieve this it will cap a most wonderful season.