Qualicum Beach's Eagles soar into soccer provincials
They may be on the limp but Shady Rest Soccer’s Over 35 Eagles are still flying high after going 2-0 to lock up the league playoffs and earn the sides’ first-ever trip to the B.C.s.
“We won our league — we dominated every game we played other then the two early in the season when we were missing a few guys (and) we definitely deserved to win the tournament,” one chuffed Eagles player/coach Craig Gooding surmised.
He admitted the side actually faced their toughest test of the year in terrible conditions March 13 when they beat Powell River in a match that lasted over two hours.
The Shadies cruised to a 10-2 regular season record to lock up top spot in the five-team North Island Men’s Soccer League, and won the league championships with back-to-back wins. Shady Rest opened the two-game round robin Saturday with a 2-1 semi-final win over Courtenay. John Lee and Dean Price provided the scoring in that one.
They returned to the pitch the next day when they duelled Powell River to a scoreless tie after 90 minutes of regulation then another 30 minutes of overtime before beating them 3-nil in a shootout.
“It was great — we scored all three of our shots and our keeper saved two and they shot wide and we won,” said Gooding.
Shadies’ keeper Butch ‘The Dyson Ball’ Gayton was a vacuum in net.
It is the first time in the club’s 40 year history an Over 35 Eagles’ side has ever won both a league title and a playoff championship, and by doing so they also become the first team from their league to qualify for the B.C.s — as the NIMSL, which has operated as an independent league for years, joined BC Soccer for the first time this season.
“Conditions were terrible,” Gooding confirmed when asked about playing in Sunday’s squall. “It was rough. It was wet soggy, cold ... our back line played very well though; our midfield was working overtime, and we had a few guys with injuries that were playing ... it was a battle and we fought right to the end.”
Asked about the Tiger Balm factor Gooding chuckled and said ,“oh yeah. It’s tough on the body, especially back-to-back games and one of them with overtime, so we’ll be suffering for the next couple weeks (but) this was our goal from the beginning of the season.”
“They’ve had an excellent season,” said Shady Rest Eagles’ club president Jim Cameron. “It will do wonders for our club, it will attract new members and strength our club for next season.”
He credited Gooding and Ryan Oglivie for taking on the leadership role and pulling the team together this year, “and they were rewarded for their hard work.”
Youth Soccer Playdowns
Further to the recent rain-shortened Nanaimo and District Youth Soccer’s U11 and U12 year-end playdowns comes word from Mike Cochrane that Arrowview Elementary School will be pressed into service Saturday, April 2, as site of the makeup games which will determine four new champions.