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Challenging field in Investors’ Group tournament

The 16th Annual Investors’ Group Challenge once again proved to be a huge success for all teams involved.
Carihi forward Ayla Akehurst splits Thomas Aquinas defenders during Investors Tournament action at Willow Point Park Friday.

The 16th Annual Investors’ Group Challenge once again proved to be a huge success for all teams involved.

The soccer caliber this year was particularly high with AAA Provincial Champions Claremont and Runners up Argyle Pipers, along with Glenlyon Norfolk single “A’ Provincial Championships and Campbell River Tyees who were AA provincial runners up last year.

A cool breeze and blue sky greeted the 16 teams on the opening day and the soccer on show matched the beautiful weather. As tradition has it, the opening eight games determine which team enters Cup play and which team goes to the Plate side.

Carihi were intentionally drawn against AAA champions Claremont in an attempt to provide the young Tyees with the opportunity to go against the best team in the province. Claremont was a young team last year and the vast majority of the squad returned this season. Claremont came out deserved 3-1 winners despite leaving five key starters at home. It was a good lesson for the home side as they were outmuscled in most departments.

Despite this it was encouraging to see the younger players such as Jocelyn Cormier, Taylor Marsh, Karlyn Healy and “Macca” adjust well to the challenge.

The Tyees made an encouraging start but found themselves two goals down shortly into the second half before “Razza” pulled one back. Any hopes of a revival were dealt a blow when Claremont increased their lead after 59 minutes.

The second game of the day for the Tyees saw them face Fraser Valley Christian School. The opponents on this occasion were less experienced than Claremont and the Tyees were able to beat them 3-0 in comfortable fashion.

The next morning saw the Carihi girls meet Thomas Aquinas who, like Carihi found themselves in the Plate side due to the quality of their first round opponents. Thomas Aquinas have a fine soccer history and it was clear at the start of the game both teams very much wanted a win to ensure a place in the Plate Final. The game proved to be an excellent one for the Tyees. They dominated both in the air and on the ground and moved the ball about in fine fashion.

It seemed many of the lessons of the previous day had been taken on board.  Talise Lindenbach had her best game in a Carihi shirt and was both brave and tenacious in all her challenges. Jamie Tillapaugh was her usual “Tank like” self in the middle and Morgan Breeze bravely took on her new responsibilities in central midfield.

On the rare occasion Thomas Aquinas did breach the Tyee defence keeper Haley Craddock positioning was exemplary. Despite their dominant performance the score remained 0-0 at the half.

Ten minutes into the second half Claire Pomeroy hit a superb drive into the top corner of the Aquinas net.

The Plate Final saw Glenlyon Norfolk School, Victoria and single A provincial champions, take on the Tyees in the fourth game in two days for both sides. The first half belonged to the visitors as they moved the ball about smoothly and in confident fashion.

Fortunately their finishing was not as smooth as their approach play and the Tyees remained in the game as the half time whistle blew with the score still at 0-0.

The second half saw a stronger Tyee effort. Full backs Jenna Manners and Kelly Wunderlich did a fine job of getting forward and supporting the play. Upfront Ayla Akehurst was a constant threat and Razza was always dangerous on the breakaway. Despite controlling much of the half the Tyees could not get the break through and the game ended in a 0-0 stale mate.

The resulting shootout saw Glenlyon put on a “Penalty Kick Clinic” as they smashed every penalty into the corner of the net leaving Craddock helpless.