Athletics Review: Sep 14-20, 2009

Senior Boys place 3rd in ISA Tournament
The Senior boys A soccer squad kicked off their season with an exhibition match against traditional rivals Oak Bay. Despite some initial confusion, and two early goals-against, the lads found their focus in the second half and began to gel as a team. Building on gritty defensive performances from full-backs Marc van der Wal and Cameron Metcalfe — and the seemingly-endless energy of midfielder Tycho Mommsen-Smith — the team scored several times, earning a 4-3 win.

On Friday, the team began round-robin play in the ISA tournament with an easy win over Collingwood. Later that afternoon, they faced off against GNS. Outplayed by a skilled squad, on unfamiliar turf, their spirits seemed to sag. By half-time, the lads were down by a goal. Despite a goal off a corner by physical full-back Mike Fuailefau, the team conceded a further two goals in the closing minutes of the game. This loss meant no chance of a first-place finish.

Following a night of reflection, the team took to the field again on Saturday morning against West Point Gray Academy. From the first minutes, when keeper-turned-striker Jure Erlic scored on a breakaway, the result was never in doubt. Towards the end of the first half, midfielder Taylor Bridge notched another goal off a precise cross from Austin Smith. Later on, Erlic earned his second goal of the game with a skilful one-two trap-shot on a cross from overlapping full-back Anthony Sharma. In the final minutes, the boys conceded one goal to their opponents.

Co-captains Travis Denley, Alex Harvey and Tycho Mommsen Smith stepped up and refocused the lads in time for their final bronze-medal game against Brentwood College. With a renewed sense of pride, the squad played their best soccer yet. Stringing together pass after pass, the team consistently maintained possession and began to probe Brentwood’s defense like true tacticians. Twenty minutes in, attacking midfielder Tycho saw his chance, switching the ball across the field with lightening speed to equally speedy full-back Marc van der Val, who deftly set up striker Jure Erlic for his third goal of the tournament. Minutes later, Swiss import Simon “Hard-Shot” Fuiedli blocked a clearance attempt and stunned the Brentwood keeper with a powerful straight-on goal.

Not to be outdone, versatile midfielder Colin Smith, fresh off a strong performance in the backline, scored a third goal with a skilful outside-of-the-foot flick off another van der Wal cross. In the final minutes of the game, striker Taylor Bridge, who had already, in the words of his coach, played the “game of his life,” scored the final goal of the game off a penalty kick awarded for a foul to striker Ben Beaudoin.

The coaches hope the team will continue to play such superb soccer in the coming weeks, as the short regular season gets underway. League play will commence on Thursday, following one more exhibition match on Tuesday.

Junior Boys Soccer
After one final tryout session this week, the junior boys soccer team was selected. The squad looks strong and full of promise. Practices will begin again this coming week when the Grade 10 students return from their outdoor education trips. The boys’ season will begin Wednesday afternoon with a game at Reynold’s.

Field Hockey
The field hockey girls had a very busy start to their season with a round-robin jamboree last Wednesday against local Victoria teams and then an exciting 6th place finish out of 12 teams at the annual Friendship Cup up at Brentwood College over the weekend. Most promisingly, there is good depth in quality and quantity to the field hockey programme this year, which has enabled us to field a second team in the league, the only Victoria high school to be able to do this. Over the weekend, there were a mixture of wins and losses in the fairly non-competitive tournament, which included a last minute 1-0 loss to powerhouse Cowichan, a win over Claremont and a superb second-half blitz on the GNS goalie without just rewards in terms of goals. The most encouraging aspect of the 5 games played was the competitive spirit played by the team and the potential shown by newcomers – Grade 9 girls Arden Mollenhauer, Charlotte Queen, Orla Glen and Leanne Farmer, and particularly with Jenna Dhillon, who as a Grade 8 showed tremendous talent. The standout players amongst the seniors were undoubtedly Emma Abrioux who was superb as centre D, Cleo Valentine as centre forward who tormented the opposing defences, and the determined hard graft from Montana Sawyer, Meredith Witoski, Paula Weech and Bonnie Moore, ably supported by the athleticism of Selby Knudsen in goal.

On Monday, September 21, the league season starts with the first team playing Claremont and the second team playing Vic High – both games starting at 4pm up at the UVic turf. We wish the girls all the very best for the upcoming matches in the league.

Senior Girls Volleyball
It’s been a whirlwind of a week for the Senior girls volleyball team! The roster was decided on Monday and nearly everyday after was filled with practice and games. The girls played in the Camosun Classic Tournament at PISE this past weekend. The tournament filled its purpose as the team has already begun to gel and the competitive nature of the girls combined with their natural athletic abilities will surely result in an exciting season!

Grade 9 Cross-country
We have thirteen keen Grade 9 students participating in the program and their energy and enthusiasm are second to none! We are looking forward to our first race next Wednesday at Beacon Hill at 4:15pm and encourage any support from parents and friends. We are also interested in having at least four more girls join the team if anyone is interested — no previous experience necessary!

Senior Cross-country
The first week in the Senior cross-country season was one that highlighted the potential of so many talented athletes. The heart rates were high, and the recovery was slow, but coaches Tobacco and Hunt are optimistic that things will fall into place in a couple of weeks. The highlight of the week was a killer hill session near Mt. Tolmie that saw all the athletes digging deep to find what it takes to get the job done. For the team, putting in the effort and working your tail off each training session continues to be the focus. Knowing that in doing this, the fitness benefits and performance results will fall into place in due course.

The first race is next Wednesday afternoon at Beacon Hill.

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