On a foggy, late January Sunday afternoon, the Campbell River United U13 boys soccer team became the victors of the final game to determine the North Island finalists for the Island Cup with a 3-0 win over formidable rivals, the Comox Valley Titans.
The game started slowly for United with the Titans dominating play for the first 10 minutes. Stellar defence from Lukas Gurderjahn and Nico Matheson was able to thwart off any dangerous looking attacks from the Titans. After the initial Comox onslaught, Campbell River finally found their game legs and the momentum was soon on their side. A series of near misses from Campbell River forwards kept the game scoreless for much of the first half.
For all of their hard work though, Campbell River would not be denied and were rewarded with the matches’ first goal. Quinn Zumkeller received a diagonal pass which he deposited into the net with a delightful first time strike. The Comox goalkeeper was left with little chance as the ball was kept low and just inside the right goal post.
Less than five minutes later, Campbell River would strike again as Josef Dirom would take a pass and cleanly beat the Comox keeper with a hard hit low drive, giving Campbell River a 2-0 lead; one they would take with them into the half.
The second half began with the fog noticeably thicker than at the start of the game. Both teams would fight hard with each team’s last line of defence up to the challenge. Although there was some very creative play happening, neither team was able to generate much in the way of clear cut chances for the first 20 minutes of the second half.
Both teams were awarded free kicks but it was Campbell River that finally capitalized on one of its chances. Fergus Hall would step up and confidently dispatch a high dipping shot from 25 yards out that would catch the Comox keeper in ‘no man’s land’ and give Campbell River a 3-0 lead with about fifteen minutes remaining in the game.
Comox Valley would not quit, despite the score, and played like true warriors for the remainder of the game. During a mad scramble, Comox Valley had a glorious chance to get back in the game with a shot that was cleared off the line by defender Nick MacGregor.
With about five minutes remaining in the game, Comox Valley knocked in a rebound off of a save from goalie Alec Weinstein. The linesman, however, deemed the play offside and the score remained 3-0 in favour of Campbell River. After 70 minutes of fast-paced, entertaining soccer from both squads, the final whistle sounded through the fog and Campbell River United became the North Island Finalists for the Island Cup Championship against Victoria in the upcoming weeks.