On October 1, the SMUS U15 girls soccer team flew to Toronto to play in the CAIS soccer tournament hosted by Country Day School and Pickering College. The fifteen players began the tournament against Bishop Strachan School. Although the team pressured them relentlessly, the girls were unable to create a goal. One peek at the goal gave BSS a stunning lead, as the ball ricocheted in off the post. Colleen Wong, who only played twenty minutes of the first game, then took matters into her own hands. She single-handedly beat three or four defenders and found herself out on the wing. She then cut inside to beat those same defenders and pounded the ball into the roof of the net. That moment of brilliance assured us an opening game tie. Claudia Wheler and Riley Jones created many scoring chances for us but their teammates were unable to capitalize.
The second game of the day was against Sacred Heart School of Montreal. This was a tough game and played in driving rain but SMUS persevered. Robyn Noel gave us an early lead and Riley Jones scored a beautiful second goal on an inspired run by Claudia Wheeler. We then allowed SHSM back into the game by giving up a goal. Desiree McIntosh showed great tenacity on defence, as did Christina Sipos in goal, and we ended up rebounding with a lovely third goal by Emmie Galler to seal the deal at 3–1 for SMUS.
The final game of the day was against Kings Edgehill School of Windsor, Nova Scotia. Our girls were simply too strong and were able to score at will. Despite altering the line up and trying to string together consecutive passes the final score was 7–1 for SMUS. Goal scorers were Claudia Wheler, Rachel Olsen, Flora Manson-Blair, Sam Biberdorf, Mckenna Haz and Aveen Glen and Emmie Galler.
Day two of the tournament opened with a game against Trafalgar School of Montreal. This was a good omen for Christina Sipos as she earned her first shut-out and four goals for us assured the victory. Goals were scored by Claudia Wheler, Riley Jones, Robyn Noel and Aveen Glen.
The second game of the day was pivotal as it would decide who advanced out of our pool of seven teams into the championship final four. A win for SMUS would pretty much guarantee us a shot at the championship. In an extremely difficult match that was played with great enthusiasm by both teams SMUS prevailed on an early goal by Claudia Wheler. This victory gave Christina another shut out and had us all quite jubilant.
The final game of the day was against one of the host schools, Pickering College. The girls were now playing with great confidence and enthusiasm and would not be denied. Goals by Claudia Wheler, Robyn Noel, Colleen Wong and two penalty shots by Samantha Biberdorf sealed the 5–0 victory. We also happily congratulated Christina Sipos on her third consecutive shut-out of the tournament.
The tournament championship semifinal pitted SMUS against Lower Canada College of Montreal. The team started off slowly and allowed LCC to pressure us. Slowly the tide turned and both squads were sharing play evenly until a controversial moment allowed LCC to score as our players thought the ball was out of bounds. The entire second half consisted of SMUS continually pressuring LCC and pinning them in their own half. Despite several good looks at their goal, our big goal scorers were unable to conjure up the magic that was so effective on day one and two. The final whistle gave LCC a 1 -0 victory over us and SMUS settled for third place out of fourteen schools.
Later that day, the team had a celebratory meal at Toronto’s Hard Rock Café where they also celebrated Claudia Wheler’s birthday. The girls also visited the CN Tower at night making for a fabulous visual spectacle. The team got to go shopping the next morning before we headed off to the airport and the long flight back to Victoria and the classroom. This was a great group of athletes who truly represented the School exceptionally well. Vivat!