It was a banner week for Senior girls soccer, as SMUS won six straight games in a 72-hour window to capture the local AA City title and repeat as ISA champions.
In April 23 league play versus arch rival Lambrick Park, the Blue Jags dominated play in the first half but couldn’t capitalize on several good chances. However, one minute after the break, Maggie Manson-Blair watched her lobbed ball sail just over the unsuspecting goalie’s head and into the net. A short time later Angel Tsui connected off a cross to extend the lead to 2-0. Then, though the Pride battled back in the 60th minute to draw within one goal, Robyn Noel put the game away in the 70th minute. With the 3-1 victory, SMUS secured the South No. 1 seed to the Island Championships May 11 and 12 at Mark Isfeld in Comox. Also, the the team enters Ryan Cup quarter-final play as City AA No. 1 and will host Reynolds this Thursday (April 30) at 3:45 p.m.
In the ISA Tournament, held at SMUS April 24 and 25, SMUS opened up with comfortable victories over St. Margaret’s and Shawnigan, with junior call-up Semele Smith recording two shutouts in goal. Then, in the key pool game against similarly unbeaten Collingwood, the Blue Jags, thanks to a Claudia Wheler marker in regulation time and then some penalty kicks via the dreaded shootout, advanced to the final four.
In the semi-final, SMUS spotted York House an early goal before taking a stranglehold of the game in the second half. Waves of pressure and multiple scoring opportunities finally bore fruit, with Wheler and Noel connecting late to secure a 2-1 win.
In the final versus Southridge, Noel continued her scoring onslaught, connecting on a header in the 4th minute after a Flora Manson-Blair corner. Just after halftime, having been fouled in the penalty area, she then scored from the spot kick to secure the 2-0 result. Smith recorded her third clean sheet in five games, as the team successfully defended its ISA crown. Vivat!
See more photos from the ISA Senior Girls Soccer Tournament at the SMUS Photo Gallery.
In a remarkable conclusion to a close and exciting contest last Friday, the SMUS 1st XV rugby team defied the odds to register a comeback 31-26 win over Mexico U19.
The tourists, fresh off comfortable wins over Robert Bateman Secondary School and St. George’s XV, started the game definite favourites, but found the hosts in no mood to be overrun.
Indeed, playing into the elements, SMUS made a positive start, with centre Matty McColl slotting a penalty goal for an early 3-0 lead. Mexico soon matched this kick, with the teams then exchanging further three pointers to leave the score level at 6 after 20 minutes.
The teams offered contrasting styles. SMUS looked to move the ball wide as quickly as possible, while the Mexicans preferred a more direct, bruising approach.
Just after scrum half Carson Smith came close, it was No. 8 Aidan McCleary who registered the first try of the match, as he powered over from a five-metre scrum. With McColl adding the extras, SMUS moved ahead 13-6. Unfortunately, a SMUS handling error with only seconds left in the half gifted Mexico a final possession, which it used clinically to draw within two points.
While McColl, with his third penalty, pushed the SMUS lead to 16-11 straight after the break, Mexico slowly but surely began to turn the screws. Powerful forward runners looked to smash holes in the home defensive line, and only some brave tackling from the likes of Josh Graffi, Pablo Fernandez, Myles Duncan, Jonas Robinson and Josh Kahn denied the go-ahead score.
Inevitably, raw power, allied to some slick offloading, won out, and, in the 48th, 57th and 65th minutes, Mexico added unconverted tries. At 26-16, the result appeared a formality, with SMUS struggling to gain any meaningful possession.
Then, in a quite amazing sequence, it all changed. An inch-perfect Graeme Hyde-Lay restart was reclaimed by Liam Catto, who made ground before setting up a quick ruck. Slick passing by the backs was then capped by Kahn’s mazy run, with the centre eluding several would-be tacklers to cross under the posts. With the conversion, suddenly SMUS trailed by only three.
Mexico kicked off, SMUS countered, and, following a tackle infraction, McColl was presented with a chance to level the scores from halfway. The towering kick never looked like missing, bisecting the uprights to bring the scores level.
From the restart, with time on the clock almost up and the referee checking his watch, SMUS caught the ball and then kicked long down field. The ball ran into touch in the Mexico half and the final whistle seemed imminent. Yet, as Mexico chose to take a quick throw in, it was Duncan who timed his run to perfection, intercepting the pass and then scampering to score near the left corner. 31-26!
Congratulations to both teams for putting on such a riveting spectacle. For SMUS, in addition to those mentioned above, Angus Catto, Aidan Cole, Sam Platt, Warren Marriott, Noah Pryce-Baff, Dimitri Boroto, Manolo Carzo, Marcelo Olson, Lucas De Vries and Max Pollen all played their part in a brave and gutsy win.
See more photos from the Senior 1st XV rugby match versus Mexico’s U19 team at the SMUS Photo Gallery.
SMUS rowing travelled to the 45th Brentwood International Regatta on the weekend. Brentwood is the largest high school regatta in the northwest, with more than 1,700 athletes participating in the event. This year the weather held and allowed the three days of racing to run on time – a first in several years.
As a result, SMUS athletes put in solid performances:
- Overall Girls Points: 3rd out of 9 high schools (2nd Canadian to Brentwood)
- Overall Boys Points: 7th out of 9 high schools (6th Canadian)
- Silver – Jr A Novice Girls 4+, Jr B Boys 72kg 4+
- 4th – Jr A Girls School 8+, Jr B Boys 4+
- 5th – Jr A 63kg Girls 8+
- 6th – Jr B JV Girls 4X+, Jr A Boys School 8+
- In addition, the Jr A girls 63kg 4+ also qualified for the final but had to scratch due to illness.
Congratulations to the athletes and thank you to all the coaches and the parents for their support. The final regatta of the season, before selected crews compete at the Canadian Secondary School Championships in Ontario, will be the Shawnigan Lake Regatta May 8-10.