The Carihi Tyees senior boys AA soccer team have won the Vancouver Island Championship in convincing fashion and are now heading to the Provincial Championship.
Carihi hosted this year’s Island Championship, which featured eight teams in two pools at turf fields in Campbell River and Courtenay, Nov. 8 and 9.
The team won its first appearance against Stelly’s from Saanichton 4-1, but faced adversity in the first half.
“We started the game a little bit shaky,” said team captain Logan Pierce, goalkeeper. “They had a couple chances, but they couldn’t capitalize.”
But the team managed to get its offence rolling — which continued throughout the tournament.
Sam Borrie drilled a long-range strike to put the team up 1-0, before Stelly’s responded with an equalizer on a free kick. Borrie drained another kick before the half, to go up 2-1.
The team’s trepidation disappeared after that.
“We came out of the half really amped up, and we ended up putting another two past,” said Pierce.
Learning from this experience, Carihi started hot for its next game against Brooks, winning 4-0.
“We came out really hard and intense in the second game — we knew we couldn’t come out soft again or else it would come back to bite us,” he said.
The next game, on Nov. 9, was against Pacific Christian School, then out of contention. That gave the team a chance to provide some key players rest and rotate in some substitute players.
Carihi prevailed, 7-1, giving the team momentum heading into the finals.
The team faced Lambrick Park in the finals that afternoon. Carihi had a chance to watch their opponent in one of its previous matches, providing them a chance to tailor a strategy for the team from Victoria.
“They played a lot through the midfield, and they’re a one-sided attacking midfielder, so we lined up specifically to cancel him out,” said Pierce. “It was a real advantage, because we shut him down very early.”
Despite Lambrick Park’s talent, Carihi exerted unrelenting pressure and secured the victory, 4-0.
“We came out and played a better game — some guys played their best game that day,” said Wilson. “It all came together at the right time.”
The team’s defence was a big part of its success, said Pierce.
“The chemistry they have between each other helps us out so much, and they’re so reliable,” he said. “That boosts everyone’s confidence.”
The victory is the team’s third Island Championship in three a row and fourth in the past five. Looking to provincials, held Nov. 22 to 24 in Burnaby, the team looks to stick to its approach.
“We’re just going to keep doing the same stuff that we’ve been doing throughout the year, with the goal of staying healthy,” said Wilson.