By Aleah Jordan
On the back of the Carihi Senior Girls Soccer sweatshirt you can read the following statement: “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
Captain Emma Skalik selected this quote before the season began, with the goal to reach the North Islands more prominent in the minds of the players than the Islands, never mind the provincial championship. However, the season that few Tyees ever dared dream about came to a fitting end at the provincials in Kamloops this past weekend with a top 10 finish.
Game one saw the Tyees take on J. L. Crowe. It couldn’t have been a worse start as the opponents scored within the opening minute, but the Tyee’s Skalik responded quickly with a fine goal. With the game tied, the Tyee’s excitement and their eagerness to keep going and score more goals was most evident. One feature this year has been when centreback Nyla Haider attacks the pinpoint corner kicks of Skalik. This took 12 minutes, and suddenly the Tyees were up 2-1. Carihi continued to play their possession game, and after stringing together some fine passes, right winger Inara Jhawer cut inside to drive the ball into the top corner for goal number three. Jhawer then scored again after Skalik set her up just inside the 18-yard box. Later, the ever-impressive Skalik threaded a ball though to younger sister in Grade 8, Elena, who finish off a well timed breakaway for her first goal as a senior Tyee. Late into the second half, J.L. Crowe managed a second goal but the game ended 5-2 for Carihi.
Later that day, Carihi faced Notre Dame of Vancouver, with the Tyees competing superbly in a physically challenging game that stood scoreless at halftime. In the second half, both teams defended well and created a number of chances, but it was Notre Dame who secured the win after finishing off two of their scoring opportunities. “They were a very strong team, but we matched them well and had just as many scoring opportunities,” fullback Jolyn Barley said.
On day two, Carihi took on top seed in the pool South Kamloops and put together, without doubt, their best 35 minutes this season in the opening half. After creating a number of excellent opportunities, Emma Skalik drove through at the top of the 18-yard box and firmly struck the ball into the bottom corner, and for the rest of the opening half the Tyees continued the keep the ball away from their physically bigger opponents, with Tanisha Maltilpi, Nairee Paulus and Jhawer providing a constant threat up front, with solid ball control in the midfield from Kaityn Dreger and Charlie Borrie while fullbacks Gillianne Stewertson and Barley supported the central midfield in the build-up. South Kamloops remained a threat, but Haley Wingsert marshalled her back four line with maturity. Midway into the second half though, a goal mouth scramble inside the Tyee six-yard box resulted in a tying goal for South Kamloops. Eight minutes later South Kamloops knocked a long ball over Carihi’s defensive line to secure the 2-1 win.
“It was an evenly matched game, both teams had equal amount of scoring opportunities. But unfortunately South Kamloops were just able to capitalize on their shots,” Skalik said.
Going into the second game of day two, Carihi knew they had secured a top 12 finish and were playing to see if they could finish in the top 10 against College Heights. The opening minutes were a little scrappy but a fine through-ball from Skalik to Jhawer, who guided the ball past the advancing keeper to the cheers from Carihi subs and parents. For the next goal Skalik drove a wicked corner kick into the middle of the six-yard box, and once again Haider was able to time her jump right to head the ball into the back of the net.
“With Emma’s perfectly placed cross I saw my opportunity and just went for it,” Haider said.
For the third goal, Carihi’s left fullback Barley whipped a powerful throw-in towards Skalik’s chest, allowing her to turn past the defence and fire a superb strike into the far corner. Moments later, Jhawer added yet another goal for the emphatic 4-0 win.
Coming into the last game of their provincial trip against Crofton House, Carihi was ready to leave it all on the field. With three Grade 12 girls playing their last game, Coach John Jepson told the team to “play for your 12s.” The Tyees came out strong and dominated the early stages of the game, with an opening goal after a high in-swinging corner from Skalik. Throughout the first half the Tyees dominated the play of the game with their quick accurate passing by tireless midfielders Dreger and Borrie. The attack led to multiple corners. On one from Skalik, Maltilpi was able to tip the ball off to Haider, who quickly capitalized on the rolling ball. Down 2-0, Crofton countered with a few attacks but strong defence from Stewertson, Haider, Haley Wingert, and Barley held off the opponents. Near the end of the first half, Skalik saw an opening and dribbled through to put the ball into the bottom left corner, bringing the score to 3-0. With a great start to the game the Tyees were able to come back out in the second half and continue their passing game, get some minutes some minutes from Grade 9 players,Hadikin and Knight. The Tyees continued to create scoring chances, with Haider scoring on the last corner of the game.
There were many tears shed at game’s end because the 4-0 win signalled the end of the season with the Grade 12 players Skalik, Matilpi and Paulus, who have played a crucial role and mentored the younger players.
“We are all very proud to have been a part of a group that was able to add another chapter to the Tyee soccer history book,” Wingert said.