The Riptide’s Lauren Wigard races after the ball while Riptide’s Sarah Bard and keeper Nicolette Vinnedge look on.

Riptide take down league leaders

Riptide hand league leaders first lost of the season

After two weeks off from regular league play, Riptide U14 girls faced the Upper Island Storm on Saturday in their fifth game of the VIPL season.

Not only did Riptide become the first team to defeat the first place Storm, but it was also Riptide’s first shut-out of the season.

Riptide and Storm had their first match up in September, when Storm won 3-1. Riptide knew that making the most of home field advantage would be important if the tides were to turn this time around.

“The Storm is a very strong team and they had not yet been defeated this season,” said Riptide Coach Jim Stewart. “We made some tactical adjustments since our last match against them and our girls were looking forward to this rematch. The girls executed our game plan perfectly and they were rewarded with two solid goals and a clean sheet.”

Riptide started off strong and confident, settling in quickly to both their defensive and offensive play. With solid efforts from both teams, it wasn’t until near the end of the first half that scoring began, despite multiple opportunities on both sides. Riptide’s Rosie Campbell set up the play from the defensive end with a pass down the left side to Frédérica Blouin-Comeau.

Blouin-Comeau made her way down the line, making a gorgeous cross to Ciara Halvorson, who found the top of the net to score Riptide’s first goal. Storm then had an opportunity to score on a direct kick, making Riptide fans extra nervous. Storm missed and the home team fans sighed with relief.

Then Aisha Hunter-Bellavia took a corner kick, landing the ball right in the box where Abby Sexton was perfectly positioned to tap it in for Riptide’s second goal and close out the first half. In the second half, Riptide’s strong defensive play prevented Storm from scoring.

Riptide’s keeper, Nicolette Vinnedge, made numerous saves throughout the game, earning her first shut-out of the season. The Riptide U14 girls will be on the road next Saturday to play Juan de Fuca/Sooke. On Sunday, meet the team at the Campbell River Superstore where they will be bagging groceries as a fundraiser.