In frigid conditions at UVic’s Centennial Stadium, SMUS Senior boys’ soccer captured the prestigious Colonist Cup, defeating arch-rival Oak Bay 2-0 on November 12 in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd. A further sizable audience watched the game via live stream online.
The team’s preparations were given a jolt just minutes before kickoff, when centre-back Graeme Hyde-Lay suffered an ankle injury in a freak accident. This necessitated a rejig of the starting lineup, with Callum Montgomery moved from midfield to defence and given the task of shadowing Bays’ danger man Charlie Miller.
After a nervous feeling-out process, the game settled down as both squads had half chances to open the scoring. One Matty McColl effort was well saved, while Brian Im blazed over the bar from a free kick.
After a scoreless first half, in which the Blue Jags had the slight edge in play, things warmed up considerably. Finally, after shooting high on a chance from directly in front, Max Pollen capped an industrious evening’s work by chesting home from close range in the 59th minute after a goal-mouth scramble.
In search of the equalizer, Oak Bay then turned on the pressure. A wicked drive from the top of the box was only just denied by a superb Harrison Giles save. More pressure then produced other anxious moments, but the SMUS defence held firm. Then, with only minutes to play, Im found space just inside the penalty area. His accurate shot found the bottom left corner of the net and confirmed a hard-fought, but well-deserved, victory.
The team is now competing at the BC AA tournament in Burnaby as one of the top seeds. On Monday, the Blue Jags defeated Caledonia from Terrace 4-0, Lower Mainland foes Southridge (5-1) and McNair (5-0). With the two wins the team moved on to the semifinals Tuesday afternoon against Archbishop Carney. The Blue Jags won that game 2-0, and are now set to make a finals appearance Wednesday morning against Sa-Hali. Vivat!
SMUS hosted the AA Senior Girls’ Island Volleyball Championships on November 14-15. On Day 1, following a solid win over Kwalikum, a nervy comeback versus Pacific Christian School and a loss to powerful Ladysmith, the Blue Jags finished second in its pool.
The next morning, the team overcame a slow start to oust GNS 15-13 in a very tight quarter-final match before falling to Brentwood in the semifinals. This placed the squad in the bronze medal contest versus Woodlands, with the third Island berth to the BC Tournament at stake.
The visitors captured Game 1 of the best-of-five before SMUS then scrambled back to prevail 25-22. Unfortunately, Woodlands captured the key third set and then rode this momentum to victory.
However, all is not lost. The Jags are playing their best volleyball of the season, and now travel to Vancouver November 21-22 to compete in a six-team wild card tournament. The winner of this event gains the last berth to the provincials.
Congratulations to all on their Island tournament performance. Seniors Jen Shan and Keeley Copeland provided fine leadership, while power hitters Taylor Noel and Semele Smith moved up from the junior ranks to add depth. Setter Silke Kuhn had the distinction of being named to the All-Star team.
See more photos of the Senior girls volleyball team in the Island Championships on the SMUS Photo Gallery.