Senior boys soccer headed to provincials in Burnaby November 23-25, looking to repeat as AA champions.
An Island No. 1 seeding resulted in a favorable draw, even if topping the pool would place the team on a semi-final collision course with Okanagan powerhouse Sa-Hali Secondary.
Unfortunately, in the opener versus David Thompson, a slow start resulted in an early 2-0 deficit. SMUS, thanks to goals by Jon Sudul and Jamison Schulz-Franco, did scrap back to draw level by the end of the contest, but the result then put enormous pressure on the subsequent match versus John Oliver.
A better start was rewarded by an early marker courtesy of Ben Edwards, with the Blue Jags then pouring on the pressure in the second half. Yet, the crucial additional goal never materialized, despite two shots coming back off the crossbar and other chances not taken. Then came a fatal blow, as the Jokers, hugely against the run of play, claimed the equalizer in the dying minutes.
SMUS, with Ben Wingert and Santiago Mazoy prominent, did bounce back the following day to dispatch Aldergrove 5-0. However, any chance of topping the pool and reaching the final four hinged on the David Thompson-John Oliver match. With goals conceded being the tie-breaker in a three-way logjam, any SMUS chance to place first in the pool was a long shot. And so it proved, with a 0-0 draw enough for John Oliver to clinch top spot, relegating the Blue Jags to third in the pool, despite not having lost a game.
The Jags, with 9th now the best possible placing, did beat Island rival Highland 3-0. Then, despite Sudul and Alec Keech finding the back of the net, SMUS closed the season with a 3-2 loss to Brookswood, the deciding goal scored literally seconds before full time.
The tournament format gives so little margin for error. Goals conceded at crucial times proved extremely costly, as a glorious opportunity for SMUS to reach the medal rounds went abegging.
At the Vancouver Island Senior Girls Volleyball Tournament, held November 20-21 in Nanaimo, SMUS finished second in its pool before dropping Pacific Christian School in a quarterfinal match-up. The team then lost, in three close games, to North No.1 Woodlands, before bouncing back to defeat Kwalikum for the bronze medal.
Robyn Noel played outstandingly well, and was joined on the All-Star team by setter Silke Kuhn.
As has been the case in the past three years, the third place finish sees SMUS move to the provincial wild card tournament on November 28. Kwalikum, Holy Cross, Southridge, St. Thomas Aquinas and West Point Grey will also take part in the six-team round robin event, with the top two finishers gaining the final berths to the B.C. AA championships.
November 21 saw both the Senior girls and Senior boys basketball teams in action versus the Alumni at the Celebration of SMUS Basketball.
The girls, with Grade 9 posts Shalese Jordan and Georgia Haydock combining for 27 points, used their superior second half fitness to break open a tight affair to win 54-39. Karen Edgell ’95 and Kim Lobb ’99 led the way for the Alumni.
The boys were always going to be under the cosh, with the Alumni fielding the entire 2015 B.C. AA champion starting five, in addition to 2014 stars Matt Brien and Danny Wu. The grads pulled away from the start, displaying some sweet teamwork in a 66-31 victory. Wu notched five trifectas to lead all scorers with 15 points, while Jake Wilmott anchored a stingy defence. For SMUS, Schulz-Franco recorded 13 points.
The season proper gets underway on November 30. SMUS, from Grades 6-12, is fielding more teams this year than ever before, a testament to the sport’s popularity at the school.
In other Alumni news, three recent grads have very much left their mark on the university soccer scene.
First, goalkeeper Olivia de Goede ’09 backstopped UBC to the CIS title, making several outstanding saves in the national tournament to earn All-Star honours.
On the men’s side, Matty McColl ’15 gained a starting left back role for an upstart Bowdoin College team, who won the New England Small College title at long odds and then went on to reach the round of 32 in the NCAA Division 3 tournament.
Also operating at left back, Callum Montgomery ’15 started the bulk of the games for UNC Charlotte, gaining a Conference USA All-Freshman team selection. The 49ers also went on the the NCAAs, beating Radford before falling 1-0 to Wake Forest, the No. 1 Division 1 team in the country.
Check out more photos of the Senior teams versus Alumni teams at the SMUS Photo Gallery.
(photos by Darin Steinkey and Kyle Slavin)