The Carihi Tyees tuned up for their home tournament by winning the “Best of the Best” tourney in Chilliwack last Friday.
The senior girls soccer team captured the title with a 1-0 shootout victory over South Kamloops, setting themselves up for the 16th annual Investors Challenge.
The action begins Thursday with Timberline facing Gulf Islands at Willow Point Park at 9:30 a.m. Then at 11 a.m., on the Carihi field, the Tyees take on the defending B.C. Triple-A champs from Claremont.
“We have a team that is filled with junior players and this game will provide valuable experience that we can take forward for the rest of the season,” said Carihi coach John Jepson.
The championship game kicks off Friday at Carihi at 1:30 p.m.
Last Thursday in Chilliwack, Carihi started the Best of the Best tournament with a 5-2 win over Sutherland of North Vancouver. Tyees’ goalie Haley Craddock made a couple of spectacular saves early on while the offence was led by Ayla Akehurst and Eilidh “Razza” Rasmussen who scored two goals apiece. Taylor Marsh also capitalized on a superb corner kick from Carrie Gage.
The Tyees were challenged in game two against host the school. Weather conditions made the field very muddy and despite both teams trying to play a “passing game” the field condition made a mockery of such efforts.
Carihi opened the scoring on a fine in-swinging corner by Jamie Tillapaugh. But Chilliwack responded just prior to the half to tie the match 1-1.
The second half saw a much-improved performance by the Tyees and they were able to hold Chilliwack to a tie. In doing so, Carihi secured first place on their side of the pool due to goal differential.
In the semi-final on Friday morning, the Tyees faced a strong and well-coached team from Ballenas of Parksville.
It was a well-balanced contest and Ballanas had a number of decent chances, but keeper Craddock stood strong. The Tyees also had a number of opportunities to score but couldn’t find the net.
It took a superb solo effort from Razz to open the scoring. She picked up the ball up at the halfway line and showed nimble footwork and a great turn of pace before slotting the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Ballanas was strong up front and it took some top quality defending by Kelly Wunderlich, Nicole Burns, Joceyln Cormier and Talise Lindenbach to keep them from scoring.
Despite a few anxious scares at the close of the game, Carihi held the slim 1-0 lead and advanced to the final against South Kamloops.
Again, it was a very close affair with Carihi shading possession in the first half and South Kamloops pressing more in the second. But, once again, Craddock stood strong in net for the Tyees and made a number of critical one-on-one saves.
Carihi also received strong play from midfielders Mackenzie Kennedy and Karlyn Healy. The final whistle saw the game finish scoreless and the always nerve-racking shootout was to begin. Centre-forward Morgan Breeze confidently took the first shot and scored as did Razza. Meanwhile, a miss and a save from Craddock left South Kamloops scoreless after two.
South Kamloops did score on their shot, but Marsh secured the victory for Carihi with with a confident finish.
“Winning the tournament was a real bonus, but the most important aspect was that we played in three competitive matches,” said Jepson. “Having lost six key starting players from the “AA” silver medalist team of last season, this experience will serve as a confidence boost.”
The Carihi Junior Girls soccer season started with a hard earned victory over Mark Isfeld last week. Goals from Nadeige Levesque and Olivia Currie were enough to secure the points in what was a very close game.
This week the girls host GP Vanier on Thursday, 4 p.m., at Carihi.