Athletics Week in Review: September 22

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Despite the uncertainties created by the public school strike (happily now resolved), the 2014-15 SMUS sporting year is underway, with record numbers having tried out for numerous teams. In the past week, many of these squads made their competitive debuts in either exhibition games or Invitational tournaments.

Without question, there is a great sense of anticipation surrounding Senior boys soccer, with SMUS set to field perhaps its most accomplished team ever. A comfortable 4-2 exhibition win over GNS set the table for the September 19-20 ISA Tournament, with the Blue Jags hosting what turned out to be a very competitive and entertaining event.

In pool play, SMUS opened with a 5-0 victory over Shawnigan. Matty McColl and Brian Im each notched a pair of goals, while Kieran Large added a single. Ben Edwards recorded the shutout. Next up was a 3-0 win vs Collingwood, with a second half Graeme Hyde-Lay volley from the top of the box finally breaking open what had been a tight, testy affair.

The following day, not without a struggle, the Blue Jags confirmed their place in the final, dispatching a pesky Southridge squad 4-1. A clever Im chip produced the key goal in the 35th minute, with McColl then completing his personal hat trick following a goal mouth scramble.

In something of a surprise, Brentwood parlayed a late strike to upend favoured St. George’s 1-0 en route to also reaching the gold medal game. The Mill Bay crew then again rode scrambling defence, excellent goalkeeping and some luck to make things interesting vs SMUS. Indeed, though the hosts hit a post, a cross bar and were denied on at least three other occasions by highlight reel saves, in the final analysis a lethal Montgomery free kick in the 18th minute was all that separated the two sides.

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The “lethal” Montgomery free kick in the 18th minute.
To download high resolution images from the weekend’s sporting events, take a look at the SMUS photo gallery for Senior boys soccer and Senior girls field hockey.

In the ISA “B” tournament, SMUS played three games, saving the best for last with a shootout win over Stratford Hall after finishing 1-1 in regulation time. Pablo Fernandez and Dimitri Boroto logged a lot of minutes and led by example throughout.

At the Junior level, the team opened its season with a 3-0 victory vs GNS. It now looks forward, in advance of City league play, to its own ISA competition at Shawnigan later this month.

Also in action was Senior girls field hockey. Featuring numerous returnees and some talented newcomers, the squad managed one practice game, a 6-0 triumph over GNS, before travelling to Crofton House for the ISA tournament.

In the past two seasons, the provincial field hockey AA landscape has been dominated by Independent Schools, with SMUS, in the actual BC tournaments, having copped some heartbreaking defeats in the medal rounds. In this year’s ISA event, the team battled Shawnigan to a standstill, but frustratingly failed to convert several grade A scoring chances in going down to a 2-0 defeat. However, the players, with Olivia Donald and Rylee Boyle pacing the attack, then bounced back to beat York House 3-0 and Southridge 4-0.
Flora sweep pushing In the absence of crossover semifinals, the loss to Shawnigan condemned SMUS to the bronze medal match vs Collingwood. The Blue Jags dominated the first half action, but, despite numerous opportunities, had only a Donald goal to show for their efforts. Ominously, Collingwood then came back into the game, pouncing on a loose ball to claim a late equalizer before going on to a 2-1 shootout win.

Nonetheless, though SMUS ended up disappointed with a 4th place finish, there were many silver linings among the clouds! Anna Mollenhauer, Chloe Keeler-Young and Aveen Glen all performed strongly in midfield while Flora Staunau also showed great skill. In addition, the Boyle triplets, Rylee, Jamie and Kasey, proved highly competitive and an inspiration to all those around them. Finally, Mia Roberts, making her first ever starts in goal, displayed real athleticism and will only continue to improve with more experience.

In Senior girls volleyball, SMUS travelled to UBC for a preseason tournament, playing a combination of school and club teams due to the school strike. In a very balanced pool, the Blue Jags defeated Langley Christian Academy 27-25 and 25-23 before dropping two games to York House by identical 25-20 scores. The team then fell narrowly to the Strikers club team, but still advanced to the championship side of the draw by way of countbacks following a three way tie.

In the Day 2 “Power Pool”, SMUS opened with a straight set win over the Bayside club, before falling two games to one to both the Falcons and NAM. Newcomers Silke Kuhn and Thana Fayad confirmed their ability in pressure situations, while returning outside hitters Amy Bodine and Beta Willeboordse paced the attack.

Two Junior girls’ teams were also in action, taking on Brentwood in a series of scrimmages. Jessa McElderry, Kaia Gyorfi and Elise Lincoln were all prominent.

In squash, 19 players took part in the Shawnigan Lake Junior Open. This competition provided a good platform to see the team’s newest members in action. Overall, there were any number of pleasing performances, starting with Jason Yoo who split his four matches in the Boys’ Gold Division. At the Silver level, Nathan Von Hagen, down two games to one, faced four match points but scrambled back to force, and then win, a deciding fifth game to top his division. Robert Fisher and Leif Skogland also played very consistently in claiming silverware.

On the girls’ side, Uma Hallea won the Silver title over runner up Sun-Eui Choi, with teammates Flora Feng and Rachel Yuen completing the top four finishers. In the Gold event, Grace Thomas lost 3-1 in the final while newcomer Hedvika Suchankova won 11-9 in a fifth game to claim a bronze medal.

As the tournament featured one of the strongest fields in recent memory, the SMUS players performed admirably. The team will be back in action in two weeks time at the Vancouver Island Open, which will take place at Cedar Hill Rec Centre and the school’s own Monkman Athletic Complex.

Finally, the Grade 9 rugby squad played in a Jamboree at Brentwood, defeating the hosts four tries to two before falling to Shawnigan by a similar scoreline. Ephraim Hsu, whether at scrum half or full back, performed impressively, with Tucker Forbes, Tony Liu, Matt Hagkull and Luke Rainier-Pope among many others who contributed significantly. In both games, the team made every effort to run the ball from everywhere on the field, an attitude which led to a handful of well executed tries.

Other SMUS teams set shortly to begin competition include developmental field hockey, cross country and rowing.

VIVAT!
Photos by Nancy Mollenhauer (field hockey) and Darin Steinkey (soccer)

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