The Senior girls team was in the news a lot, after a spectacular and exciting 10 days of play.
First, on April 26, a 74th minute goal by Gabby Freer was the difference in a hard-fought win over GNS. Then two days later, after a scoreless draw at Royal Bay, SMUS was awarded the AA City league title on the basis of fewest goals allowed.
The team then entered playoffs for the Ryan Cup, emblematic of City supremacy, in a tough match versus a resilient Claremont team. A Maggie Manson-Blair blast secured the victory and pushed the Blue Jags into the semi-finals against favoured Reynolds.
In a game that will be remembered for a long time, Abby Fraser settled nerves with a cracking opening goal after just four minutes, although the Roadrunners equalized shortly thereafter. Play continued to half time and after intermission with no further scoring, despite some excellent chances at both ends.
In extra time, goalie Anna Mollenhauer came to the rescue — not once, but twice — with sparkling saves. Finally, after 100 minutes of frantic end-to-end action, the game remained level at 1-1. The dreaded penalty shootout would decide the outcome!
Remarkably, the spot kicks went on for 13 rounds, with every player on both teams required to shoot at least once. The first round was marked with wonderful saves, in addition to shots off both the post and crossbar. Eventually, the Noel sisters, Robyn and Taylor, now each on their second attempts, both found the net as SMUS advanced by a 7-6 margin.
With the victory, the Blue Jags will make their first-ever appearance in the Ryan Cup as they meet AAA champion Oak Bay this afternoon (May 10) at UVic. Kickoff is set for 3:45 p.m. Then SMUS will host the Island AA Tournament on May 16 and 17.
At the Junior girls level, the season came to an end in the City quarterfinal, with the Blue Jags losing 1-0 to top seeded Mount Douglas. Nesha Colgate, Elise Lincoln, Zoe Lott, Emma Hill and Charlotte Bussche all performed well. The team — without its Grade 9 students who are away on out trips — had also played in the ISAs, dropping the opening game to Shawnigan Lake. However, they recovered from a two-goal deficit to beat York House on penalty kicks.
Rugby was also in the shop window, starting April 30 with the Alumni Weekend matches versus Oak Bay. The Juniors, quite literally dwarfed by the opposition, battled bravely for the entire game, taking a 5-0 lead and having two later scores ruled out. However, even with the best efforts of Matt Hagkull, Nick Papaloukas, Harry Shaw and others, the tide eventually turned as the Barbarians ran out 41-5 winners.
The 1st XV looked to both kick start its season with a signature win and gain revenge after a 31-10 defeat to Oak Bay in the April 7 Boot Game. This time, an electric start capped by Bernardo Villegas and Lucas De Vries tries staked SMUS to an early 14-3 lead. While the Barbs struck back to go ahead 17-14 late in the first half, a Hari Ikonomou score, after a wonderful build-up, saw the Blue Jags up two at the break.
In the second half, in front of a large and boisterous crowd, the visitors dominated possession and territory, but found the go-ahead score elusive. Finally, after absorbing waves of pressure, the home defence cracked as Oak Bay took a 22-19 lead.
Still, there was more to come. After one final advance up field, SMUS gained a scrum five. Myles Duncan rescued a loose ball, the forwards piled in close to the line and prop Aidan Cole drove over to confirm a thrilling victory.
The triumph was a great overall morale booster, with the Juniors, on May 2, recording a handsome win at Belmont. Then, a few days later, a 1st XV firing on all cylinders dumped AA rival Collingwood 36-5 on a glorious evening at UVic’s Centennial Stadium. Cole notched a brace of tries, with singles coming from winger Dennis Siegrist, No. 8 Quinn Ngawati, centre de Vries and prop Marcelo Olson.
The Senior squad now looks forward to a third meeting with Oak Bay in the Howard Russell Cup final on May 12, as well as a key Island AA encounter on May 17 versus Brentwood. The 15s season concludes with the B.C. tournament May 25-28 in Abbotsford.
See more photos from the 1st XV game against Collingwood on the SMUS Photo Gallery.
The rowing squad took part in the annual Brentwood Regatta, the largest event of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. Some 1,600 athletes took part over three days in unusually fine weather. SMUS turned in a solid team performance, making several finals and missing out on a number of others by a single place.
Congratulations to the Junior B Novice Boys, who finished second in their race, while the Junior B Girls JV 4X and Junior Girls 1X FB claimed bronze medals.
Next up is the May 13-15 Shawnigan Lake Regatta. This will be a final opportunity for crews to meet the qualification standards for the prestigious Canadian Secondary Schools Championships in early June in St. Catharines, Ontario.
See more photos from the Brentwood Regatta on the SMUS Photo Gallery.
Track and Field
Track and Field edged closer to the season-ending Lower Island, Island and B.C. meets with several SMUS athletes recording personal bests. Santiago Mazoy recorded 4.38.64 in the 1,500m, while Jasper Johnston moved into the top 10 qualifiers in the 200m competition.
At the bantam level, Tristan Kuhn finished third in the discus with a throw of 29.72m, while Jayne Leggatt moved to fourth overall in the triple jump with a leap of 8.64m. Finally, Joel Kiggundu, Conrad Chin and Ryan Hindson all posted fine results in jumping events.
The Lower Islands are set for Wednesday, May 11, with the full Island competition on May 18 and 19. Both meets will take place at Centennial Stadium at the University of Victoria.
See more photos from the May 4 track meet at the SMUS Photo Gallery.
(photos by Stephanie Anter, Peter Duncan and Kyle Slavin)