Carihi headed to the North Island Soccer Championship on Tuesday in Nanaimo amid pouring rain and grey clouds.
The miserable weather and constant rain forced the venue to change from Kwalicum recreation fields to the artificial turf at Merle Logan.
Fortunately that was the only bad news on a day when the Tyees performed in admirable fashion in recording two hard fought wins over Shawnigan Lake and Francis Kelsey.
The first game saw the Carihi boys start in tremendous fashion earning a two goal lead in the opening 20 minutes. The first came via an keeper error as Carter Coblenz whipped in quality corner which was too much for the advancing goalkeeper.
The Tyees maintained constant pressure and deservedly scored a second with an excellent finish from James Kruetziger from a quality pass from dane Belle Oudry. The Campbell River boys continued to play well but gave up a goal shortly before the half to go with at 2-1 lead.
The second half was a more even affair. Carihi missed a few opportunities but failed to capitalize. The final few minutes of the game saw Shawnigan put some serious pressure on the Tyee defence but they stood strong with Belle Oudry winning a couple of crucial headers from some late corners.
The second game saw Tyee Collin Massie record a shut out and a strong defensive performance was provided in front of him with Belle Oudry, Aiden Anderson, Kellen Rondeau and Alexandre Desrochers working well as a unit and ably supported by Jordan Nelson and Tyler Kelly.
Once again the boys made a dream start with two superbly taken goals via fast counter attacking moves. Zach Tillapaugh was the provider on both ocassions, firstly a fine cross for Kevin Shelswell and secondly an excellent cut back pass for Foge to score his second of the tournament.
The Tyees could have added more but for a stellar performance from the Francis Kelsey goalkeeper. As with the previous game the second half proved more even but the midfield of Coblenz, Tillapaugh, Shelswell, Foge and ever ready battery that is Jason Fawkes were solid and gave little away.
Day two saw a return to Nanaimo as the rains continued to pour and any prospect of returning to Kwalikum to complete the tournament on grass was ended with the overnight downpour.
The final game of the round robin was a semi final as both Carihi and Kwalikum High School had won their previous two games in pool play.
The slight edge went to Kwalikum as they had a superior goal difference and consequently only needed a draw. Previous games between the two teams had resulted in two narrow wins for Kwalikum. It was an excellent game between two finely balanced teams.
Both teams defended with caution and looked to counter attack with pace when possible. The half time saw both teams tied at 0-0.
The second half saw Kwalikum have their best spell. It seemed they had that extra yard of space and they created a couple of close chances.
Their best two came within seconds of each other. Firstly, it took a technically superb and courageous save from Tyee keeper Massie to save a certain goal when he flung himself toward the ball and opponent in order to save a certain goal. A continuation of that play saw the ball end up at the feet of anothetr Kwalikum forward.
Defender Desrochers made an equally brave save to prevent the ball going in with a superb tackle.
Ironically minutes later the deadlock was broken by Carihi. Forward Kruetziger chased what looked like a hopeless cause. His tenacity won the ball back and Foge who had made a tremendous run from midfield headed toward the topof the six yard box where he met the superb cross played in from Kruetziger for the crucial opening goal.
Within 10 minutes the Tyees had doubled their lead with another fast counter attack with a similar pattern of play.
This time it was Tillapaugh making the strong run down the right before whipping in a quality cross for the onrushing Foge to score once again. Overall an excellent win against a strong Kwalikum outfit.
The Final saw the Tyees match up against the highly touted Gulf Islands.
Early season scouting reports had the team ranked as the best “AA” team on the Island. It was easy to see why as they dominated the early exchanges in the game and scored within ten minutes via a powerful run by their inside forward.
Carihi worked hard to stay in the game but a second goal followed and if it wasn’t for some old fashioned hard work led by Fawkes it could have been more. The strength of the squad was demonstrated in this final game as Connor Fairweather, Nelson and Kelly all put in strong shifts.
n Next week sees the Tyees go back to Nanaimo for the Island Championship.
Originally the school was to host but the recent weather and lack of artifial turf in town has menat the tournament being relocated to Merle Logan Artificial turf.
The top three teams at the Island Championship will make the Provincial Championships later in the month in Vancouver.
The Carihi Boys are well placed and if they can reproduce the form of this Championship hopes are high they can be the first Carihi Senior Boys Soccer team to reach a Provincial Championships in over 30 years.