The U16 Upper Island Riptide Boys soccer team played a unique semi-final match on Sunday, March 6 in the Vancouver Island Premier League’s (VIPL) A- Cup playdowns.
The Riptide team, having finished in third place with a record of 7-7-2 during regular season play, faced off against the strong second-place team from the lower Island, Saanich Fusion/Prospect Lake (10-4-2) at Lochside Turf Field for the second time in as many weeks.
This was due to the fact that Saanich contested the previous weekend’s semi-final match between the two teams, which was won by the Riptide 1-0 in OT, on a technicality related to the referee not blowing his whistle on a free kick. The league supported Saanich’s protest.
Hence the second semi-final match this past weekend.
From the 2015-2016 regular season matches these two teams played against each other, the record stood at two wins for Saanich, one win for the Riptide and one tie. All of these games were close. Last week’s semi-final game and this week’s game were no exception.
The first goal would be hugely important in this rematch and both teams desperately wanted to get that marker. From the opening kick-off the teams played with extreme intensity as each attempted to control the game. Ultimately the upper-Island team dominated the first half. The Riptide created chance after chance and kept the ball largely in the Saanich end.
The Riptide’s Jack Crosby was able to hustle his way through traffic to tuck the ball beyond the reach of the Saanich goaltender. 1-0 for Riptide.
Play continued mostly in the Saanich end and within five minutes Jack Crosby was able to again get his foot on the ball for another goal very similar to his first making it 2-0 for the Riptide. It looked as if this would be the final score going into halftime, however, with only a few minutes remaining on the clock Saanich was awarded a penalty kick which their star player successfully put away for a goal.
At the half, the score was 2-1. With time winding down in the game, Saanich made good on one of their few corner kicks and tied the game. Consequently regulation time concluded with a tie.
In this situation the VIPL dictates that two 10-minute halves must take place followed by penalty kicks if there is still a tie. Overtime seemed to expire very quickly as the pace of the game was so fast. The OT expired with no goals so it was off to penalty kicks.
Saanich won the game on the penalty kicks.