Sports can be a test of strength and stamina, but sport can also be a test of heart and the Home Hardware Tidal Wave faced all three last Sunday as they campaigned for their final opportunity to again represent Vancouver Island at the Provincial Championships.
Coach Mick Pomeroy’s side arrived at Tyndall Park in Saanich well prepared to compete against their Island rivals.
Playing on an unfamiliar turf field, the Tidal Wave quickly adjusted to the fast playing turf field. From the opening whistle the Campbell River girls overwhelmed the Fusion with a fast and aggressive style and the pin point passing of forwards Kristine Osachuk and Eilidh Rasmussen had the Saanich girls chasing the ball in their own half.
Despite the strong play and ball control of the Tidal Wave side, offensive opportunities were slight for both teams. The few times the Fusion did move the ball into a scoring position keeper Olivia Currie easily handled the threat.
A short bench and players competing with injuries began to take a toll on the Campbell River side as the first half wore on.
Defender Allana Smith was the first to feel the effects of the hard turf surface, suffering a back injury near the middle point of the half, landing on the carpet after making a strong tackle to eliminate a Fusion offensive opportunity. Only a short five minutes later defender Taylor Marsh re-injured her knee after delivering a crunching tackle. With Smith and Marsh having to leave the pitch, defenders Jocelyn Cormier and Emma Peachy took their game to another level and refused to allow the Fusion to carry the ball much over the centre line. Marsh’s injury was a difficult one and she was unable to return.
The first half closed with a nil-nil score but late in the second half Tidal wave veterans Hayley Craddock and Talise Lindenbach combined to send striker Claire Pomeroy into a scoring position with the ball and as she has consistently done for many years, she did not miss, putting the Tidal wave in a 1-nil position with a well placed shot into the high left corner of the fusion goal.
As the second half wore on leg cramps and hard tackles were wearing down the Tidal Wave but despite these challenges they continued to control the pace and play of the game right up to the 90th minute.
The referee added five minutes of injury time to the match and with only 30 seconds left on the clock and victory in sight, a momentary lack of concentration allowed the Saanich team to put a ball on net that careened off a number of legs and past the diving keeper Currie.
This late goal allowed the Fusion to force the game into an overtime situation.
The Tidal Wave played the overtime as they had the game, fast paced and showing the skills they had learned over the years playing for Coach Pomeroy.
But luck was simply not with the Campbell River side and they continued to struggle with creating scoring opportunities.
The Tidal Wave suffered its second heart break of the game when the Fusion scored with a deflected shot that went high over the Tidal Wave keeper Currie, giving her no chance. The Saanich Fusion left the pitch with a 2-1 victory.
This loss marked the end of the season and one of the final games for the Tidal Wave players, many of whom have played together on the same side since they were U-7’s.
The last game for the Tidal Wave will be the Island Cup in late April.