Day one of the Senior Boys Soccer AA Island Championship saw a return to Merle Logan turf in Nanaimo for the Carihi Boys. The opening game provided an excellent test against a strong Mark Isfeld team. In earlier league play Isfeld had defeated Carihi 1-0. The opening exchanges were quite even and the closest chance fell to Kevin Shelswell who hit the post.
It was however Shelswell who did get the game’s opening goal in the twenty-first minute.
An excellent diagonal ball was sent through by James Kruetziger which Shelswell chased onto. He knocked the ball forward and despite pressure by the Isfeld defence he struck a superb drive into the roof of the net from just inside the 18 yard area.
This seemed to provide the Tyees with some confidence and it was Kruetziger again causing problems for the Isfeld defence. He chased onto an excellent through ball and was advancing toward the goal before he was abruptly and illegally stopped.
The offence saw a yellow card and it was Kruetziger who took the free kick. It was a good effort which was saved by the keeper.
Taylor Arbour pounced on the ensuing loose ball to score the second Carihi goal. The first half continued to produce some good forward play by Carihi with Connor Fairweather and Carter Colblenz producing some intelligent passes.
Jason Fawkes and Alex Desrochers were again tireless in their contribution to both defence and offence. The second half saw a commendable effort by Mark Isfeld. They put some good pressure on the Tyee defence and earned a number of corners. Fortunately the Tyees stood strong and held onto their two goal advantage.
The second game on day one had Carihi meet Shawnigan Lake in a repeat of the clash the previous week in the North Island Championship. That game saw a narrow 2-1 victory for Carihi. This game was to prove far more decisive for Carihi as they romped to a 4-0 win.
The opening goal was scored by the hard working Kruetziger. It followed excellent closing down play by Alex Foge. This pressure ultimately resulted in Kruetziger winning the ball in the Shawnigan half and a speedy break onto the Shawnigan keeper. Kruetziger coolly drew the keeper into thinking he was going to shoot, rounded the keeper and in almost nonchalant manner flicked the ball into the net despite it being a difficult angle.
The second goal came thanks to an excellent pass from Shelswell to Kruetziger. The Tyee forward then curled a beautiful shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net with the advancing keeper stranded for the second time in the game.
The Tyees continued to dominate the game and started the second half off in fine fashion.
Some excellent passing saw a fine ball fed through from Tyler Kelly to Zach Tillapaugh. There was still much to do as Isfeld ran back hard. Tillapaugh drove smartly to the net and was fouled as he was about to shoot and earned a penalty kick which he calmly dispatched. Tillapaugh scored the fourth and final goal of the game with an excellent break forward after a superb pass from Karson Kroetsch. Overall it was a very strong display by an increasingly confident group of Tyees.
Meanwhile on the adjacent pitch Mark Isfled held Lambrick Park to a 1-1 draw. The result meant that Carihi would only need a draw themselves against Lambrick Park in the final game of Pool play to become the first Carihi Senior boys Soccer team to advance to a Provincial Championship based on merit.
Day two saw some welcome sunshine which indeed reflected the positive vibe in the Tyee camp going into their game against Lambrick Park. The game started evenly with both teams enjoying some possession and a couple of half chances. It was the Tyees who broke the deadlock. Kroetsch laid a smart ball off to Tyler Kelly who hit an excellent shot from the top of the 18 yard box which went in off the far post. The game continued to ebb and flow with both teams putting on pressure at various times. Bell Oudry was a “giant” in the centre of the defence and had an answer to all high balls knocked down the middle.
Lambrick Park did tie the game with 15 minutes remaining which ensured a nerve wracking period for players and parents alike!
The Tyees defended in outstanding fashion with the pace and determination of Vigneron a real bonus. Despite five minutes of overtime being played and continual pressure the boys survived the onslaught to record the all important draw they needed to reach the Island Final and secure the precious berth to the Provincial championship.
The Championship game saw Carihi match up with St. Michael’s University School.
The game was less frenetic than the semi-final as despite playing for the honour of winning the Islands the pressure to reach the Provincials was now off.
The Tyees dominated the first half and Arbour scored the opening goal from an indirect free kick laid off to him by Shelswell just outside the six yard area. The second half saw a strong effort from St. Michael’s University School and they deservedly equalised with six minutes remaining.
No further goals were scored so extra time ensued.
St. Michael’s University School almost won it in the dying minutes but Tyee keeper Massie thwarted their attacker with a superb save.
A shoot out followed with keeper Massie making an outstanding four saves from four shots.
Carihi went on to score two from their three efforts with Arbour and Kruetziger scoring with Massie making the fourth save and the Island Championship was secured!
In the world of High School Soccer the “AA” Provincial Championship has been going since 1996 when Carihi hosted the first annual.
The school attended as hosts and finished an outstanding fifth.
This season is the first time a Carihi Senior Boys soccer team has made the trip to the High School Provincial Championship on merit and the boys are thrilled to be making history for the school.
The boys will head to Burnaby on November 18 to attend the 16 team tournament and hopes are high for a top eight finish.