Athletics Review: Oct 11, 2010

Junior Boys Soccer
The second week of the Junior Boys soccer season was not nearly as busy as the first but was every bit as exciting. On Monday, the team faced their arch rivals, Oak Bay, in what turned out to be one of our most exciting games of the season so far.

Still feeling the effects of their ISA triumph and from playing four games that day, the boys struggled and were immediately overwhelmed with the fast-pace of Oak Bay’s movement on the field. The team was beaten to almost every ball, and by the end of the first half the team was down 3-0. At the half, the coaches decided changes were needed, and switched to a more attacking formation, with three strikers up front.

With newfound vigor and a desire to get something out of the match, the team rallied and fought back with gusto, managing against all odds to score five unanswered goals. It was—as the old cliche goes–a game of two different halves. Georgios Ikonomou was instrumental in leading the comeback, scoring the first goal, which lifted the team and gave the boys momentum. Michael Baart, Mark Kiggundu, and Mauricio Montiel were also among the goal-scorers that day, but the entire team must be congratulated for not giving up and instead fighting hard till the final whistle.

The boys continue league play this week with one game against Glenlyon on Wednesday.

Field Hockey
The SMUS 1st team played a considerable amount of field hockey last week. There were two league matches against Reynolds and Lambrick Park. The former ended up as a frustrating 0-0 tie, with large periods of possession and territorial advantage, but no goals materialising. Shinai Sorensen in goal did not need to make a save in the whole game, while the Reynolds goalie was sensational.

The Lambrick game was very even, with the only goal for the opposition coming in late. It was a very encouraging performance as Lambrick are one of the top AA schools on the Island. There were noteworthy performances all round, particularly from the Grade 12 players: Paula Weech on right wing, Montana Sawyer at right back, Meredith Witoski as left midfield, Bonnie Moore in a sweeper role and Selby Knudsen (probably our MVP)in goal.

For the Bridgman Cup, SMUS was in a tough group with powerhouse AAA teams Carson Graham from North Vancouver, and Oak Bay, plus Brentwood. With the boarders away, we had a young team with only three Grade 12 players and no Grade 11 players. Up against teams with 13 Grade 12 players, it was going to be a mismatch.

After rather a drubbing, the girls played with great resilience and determination against Brentwood later on Friday, coming away with an unlucky 1-0 loss, despite a very even, fast-paced game which could have gone either way (rather like the Lambrick game earlier in the week).

On the Saturday, the SMUS girls played their best game of the tournament, holding high-powered Oak Bay to a 1-1 tie in front of a large appreciative crowd. Jenna Dhillon’s goal in the second half capped a superb display which involved everyone playing to the best of their ability and defending resolutely and attacking with creativity and speed. With a long rest until the crossover game late in the afternoon, GNS outwitted a tired SMUS team 2-0 with two penalty corner goals from their top player. Despite creating considerable pressure on the GNS goal, the finish was not there.

The final game against Kelsey on Sunday morning was rather an anticlimax with a 1-0 loss in the pouring rain. Nevertheless, the young team has learned a huge amount over the course of the tournament as playing against stronger, more experienced teams has helped our players to rally together, learn what it takes to defend stoutly and keep working hard for the full course of a game.

The next major hurdle will be the Island Championships on October 22 and 23 at UVic, where SMUS will hope for a strong showing.

Senior Girls Volleyball
Last Tuesday, the Senior girls started their league play when the team hosted Vic High, Pacific Christian School and Parkland. In the opener against Vic High, aggressive serving from Tania Rossa and Shayla Baumeler kept Vic High off balance and built lots of momentum for our side. The few free balls that we received were taken advantage of; effective middle attacks from Annie Pike and Musu Ofuso supplemented spikes from the outside by power hitter Sophia Ducharme.

SMUS easily won both sets in timely fashion (25-4 and 25-15). PCS was the best competition of the night for the girls. Although we won both sets, 25-19 and 25-16, the first was well contested with some good rallies. A good serve-receive from everyone and accurate passing from libero Michelle Yim really enabled Leah Hall and Abbey Piazza, our two setters, to run many offensive options, including a couple which really turned the tide. Using the entire team with two balanced line-ups in the final match against Parkland, SMUS still prevailed 25-22 and 25-16. The first week of league matches were really positive for the team as it prepared for its first tournament of the season during the Thanksgiving weekend.

At the Camosun College Invitational this past weekend, the team was seeded third in its pool with Belmont (Sooke), Cedar (Nanaimo) and Duncan Christian (Duncan). Without the services of Kirby McLean and Deryn Ramsey, the team had to play six matches over the course of two days. In pool play, the AAAA powerhouse Belmont was our first opponent. Although we lost both sets, the girls held their own, particularly in the first set when we held a lead of 13-8 but finally succumbed to the more powerful and skilled team 25-20.

Against Cedar, we lost the first set but regrouped in the second set. The girls played smart with much focus; the team missed only one serve and accurate free ball passes by Michelle Yim enabled Leah Hall to effectively set to Musu Ofosu and Annie Pike (two kills each). The third and final set was a “barn burner.” After leading 8-5 at the side change, Sophia Ducharme sealed the deal with two kills and Musu Ofosu had three blocks to maintain the momentum and allow the team to prevail 15-12.

In the final pool match against Duncan Christian, the girls came out flat and lost the first set 25-14. Stronger serving from everyone and more accurate passing, especially from Tania Rossa, enabled the girls to prevail 25-18 in the second set. Shayla Baumeler set the tone in the third set with some deep, strong serves and the team won 15-11. Having beaten both Cedar and Duncan Christian, everyone expected to come back on Saturday with SMUS being second place in the pool behind Belmont.

However, in the last match, Cedar had an amazing upset of Belmont which resulted in a three-way tie. Unfortunately, the SMUS team lost the tie-breaker to both teams and we were placed third in our pool which put us in the consolation bracket.

On Saturday morning, the team did not play their best against Highland (Courtenay-Comox). Despite trading rallies in the first set, SMUS could not find the extra energy and emotion to win. After that disappointing loss, we finished the tournament against Saint Margaret’s School and Duncan Christian again. Wearing their new warm-up tops before the match, the girls found the energy and focus which was lacking in the earlier match.

In the first set, solid contributions by Ali Pollen (serving and serve receiving) and Shade Souc (serving) helped the team compete well but we lost 25-22. Led by some consistent serving from Shayla Baumeler and Abbey Piazza, accurate passing from Tania Rossa and libero Michelle Yim, and timely kills from Sophia Ducharme, the team fought hard to reverse the tide in the second set. Converting some quality passes into some fine sets, Leah Hall helped lead the offense to an easy 25-14 second set victory. Flawless yet aggressive serving from Sophia Ducharme, Leah Hall and Tanya Rossa set the tone for success in the final set. The turning point in the 15-10 score was a stuff block by Musu Ofosu which initiated a standing cheer from the bench in “Who let the Jags out!”

The team finished on a high with a straight sets victory over Duncan Christian in the final match: 25-19 and 25-12. This was our goal going into the match and the team executed well. Ali Pollen helped build a lead in the first with some flawless serving and the team never looked back. Passing was solid overall and power hitter Sophia Ducharme and middle blocker Annie Pike benefitted from this with a combined five kills. The momentum carried into the second set as the team finished strong. Abbey Piazza led the offense as the setter in the final set and she helped create four kills by our attackers.

Overall, accolades go to Abbey Piazza who really stepped up with some strong serving, sound positional play and active defense. Also, Leah Hall was the setter for every set except for the final set against Duncan Christian. She was a workhorse showing determination and stamina throughout the weekend. Shayla Baumeler really demonstrated a clinic in serving at times as she picked apart the serve-receive of many line-ups. Tania Rossa’s consistent play continued and Sophia Ducharme was a rock out there showing her prowess from the power hitter position. The block timing from Musu Ofosu and Annie Pike was definitely evident at times as both seemed to be improving in this key area for our defense. It was a good weekend overall as the team finished with an overall match record of 4-2.

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