The U16 Upper Island Riptide Boys soccer team played one of their main rivals on Sunday, Feb. 7, the Saanich Fusion/Prospect Lake team. This away- game was the last match of the regular season for the Riptide.
Previous games involving these two teams were close. And the VIPL standings on Sunday going into the game illustrated this fact too. Saanich sat in second place and the Riptide in third.
The team seemed to lack energy early and were unusually quiet. These deficiencies led to delays in attacking Saanich on the first touch. With about five minutes left in the first-half Saanich scored a goal leading to a half time with that team up by one.
The Riptide started communicating more actively to start the second half and moved the ball much better in both ends of the field. These adjustments made a big difference. About 10 minutes into the half Darren Hall worked hard to get the ball to an open Dawson Kipp who made a really nice pass to Charlie Purcell in front of the net. Purcell fought to get his foot on the ball and was able to trickle it by the Saanich goalie.
The Riptide players pushed the pace of the game through the middle of the second half creating a number of scoring chances. Saanich had a couple of corner kicks that could have led to a goal(s) but the Riptide’s always on-point defence and goalie, Gary Thiara, were able to prevent any scoring.
At approximately the 25-minute mark, Port Hardy’s Jaylon Grenier was able to notch a second goal for the Riptide. A feisty Jack Crosby and a perfectly positioned Ethan Wong assisted this key goal.
With no make-up games needed for the Riptide they now have a two-week break to prepare for the VIPL A-Cup play downs.