Abby Sexton fights for position on the ball with a Saanich player late in Saturday’s game as Kaitlyn Dreger (left) and team Captain Aisha Hunter-Bellavia (right) move into position in anticipation of Sexton’s possession.

Riptide U14 Girls unable to secure home pitch advantage

Fans observing knew that the final score was not indicative of Riptide’s effort or quality of play

The Riptide U14 Girls soccer team played in Campbell River Saturday, hoping to turn the tides from their last match-up against the Saanich/Prospect team in September, when they lost 2-1. Anticipating another close game against this strong opponent, Riptide left it all out on the field.

Riptide started well, showing balanced control of the play and also putting solid pressure on their opponent’s offense. Within the first five minutes, Riptide’s keeper, Freyja Reed made a diving save, colliding with the Saanich player and resulting in a cut on her knee that ultimately required six stitches. The emotion of the situation and concern for their teammate rattled Riptide momentarily, but the players were able to quickly settle back into the rhythm and focus of the game with regular keeper Nicolette Vinnedge backstopping the team.

“Our back line did a fantastic job in the first half holding off Saanich’s most dangerous player,” said Riptide coach, Lisa Wigard.

But despite the best efforts of Riptide’s back line, including Sarah Bard, Charlie Borrie, Reilly Douglas, and Lauren Wigard, a group Riptide coach Lisa Wigard praised for doing “a fantastic job,” Saanich gained the momentum of the first goal about 20 minutes in, and it was the only goal of the first half.

After some strategy and a pep talk from the coaches at half time, Riptide came back full force in the second half.

Three strong scoring opportunities were created from two Riptide corner kicks and a run where Riptide players dribbled through several of the Saanich squad to take a direct shot on net, but Saanich’s strong defense and keeper shut them all down.

Capitalizing on a couple unfortunate mistakes, Saanich scored two more goals. Despite the team’s efforts, Riptide was unable to come up with a goal, leaving the final score a 3-0 win for Saanich.

Fans observing knew that the final score was not indicative of Riptide’s effort or quality of play. Coach Wigard explained, “This part of the season is about learning and growth.

“We have seen a significant improvement in a few short months with these girls, so there is no doubt in my mind that this team will be well prepared for the playoffs in the New Year.”

The Riptide U14 Girls, sponsored by Lacasse Construction, play their upcoming away game against the Gorge/Lakehill team in Victoria on November 15. Game times and locations are updated Wednesdays on the team’s Facebook page, which you can find by searching “Riptide U14 2001 Girls.”