Young soccer teams finish well

Rebels yell. Kaitlyn Lee celebrates her first of two goals Saturday with Jesslyn Bradbury.  - James Clarke photo
Rebels yell. Kaitlyn Lee celebrates her first of two goals Saturday with Jesslyn Bradbury.
— image credit: James Clarke photo

It was a fabulous day for footy (finally), and the kids responded with a fantastic effort.

Four new champions were declared up at the pitches of Arrowview Elementary School Saturday as Nanaimo and District Youth Soccer completed the U11 and U12 playdowns for boys and girls which were halted due to bad (make that brutal) weather a few weeks back. 

As always, the Oceansiders acquitted themselves well against keen competition — an impressive showing on the part of all the young players, and further proof the sport is on solid footing in these parts.

In action under a bright sun and cool conditions, the local sides forged four medals — a gold, a silver, and two bronze.

Oceanside had six teams in the mix — the U12 Girls Rebels’ team capped off their season by out-duelling the Nanaimo Blazers, 3-2 Saturday afternoon.

“It was a good game ... it was a bit of a scary game,” Rebels’ head coach John Lee said after.

Makayla Hoey staked the Rebels’ to a 1-0 lead five minutes in when she hammered home a great pass from Gabrielle Webster-Baumel from the top of the box. That’s how it stood at the half, and Nanaimo tied it 1-1 off a goal mouth scramble early in the second. The two teams traded more rushes up and down the field and Kaitlyn Lee one-timed a pass from Hoey in close to make it 2-1. The two teamed up again on the exact same play two minutes later to make it 3-1.

“It was like deja vu — same two players, same play ...”

Nanaimo made it interesting when they intercepted an errant pass deep in Oceanside territory but the Rebels held the fort.

The Rebels opened the tourney March 12 in Parksville with two wins. The Rebels beat Nanaimo #1 in the semi-final the following day, in a torrential downpour at Parksville Community Par. Play was stopped after that.

Fast forward to last Saturday and the U12 Girls were tenacious and clearly having a blast.

“It was an up and down season with a few brand new players. We had a bit of a rocky start where we tied most of our games, but we jelled and finished off very strong,” a proud coach Lee surmised Sunday, adding the girls, “came through in the playoffs to repeat their performance from last year (when much of this team won the U11 title last year).”

Lee credited the entire team for the win and had extra props for defenders Erica Friesen, Maya Gayton, Sarah Dunlop, and Jesslyn Bradbury and Kate Reynolds in the midfield.

Keeper Rebecca Strasky came up with a clutch save on the direct kick late in the game and to “played very well throughout the whole tournament.”

In U11 boys action, Oceanside #1 opened with a 1-nil win over Nanaimo. Cai Roberts scored the lone in that one midway through the second half.

“That was a very close game. Our goalkeeper (Justin Geiger) had a very strong game. The whole team played very cohesively,” coach Derlwyn Roberts surmised.

Back at it soon after for game two, the local lads were in fine form beating Nanaimo #2, 3-1, and assured themselves a medal. Cai opened the scoring for a 1-0 lead at the half. Justin Gorgenson and Gabriel Dodd sealed the deal. In the final against Nanaimo #1 for their third game in less than six hours the boys dug deep but simply ran out of gas on a 3-1 score. 

“They were very tired, and they were against a very strong team,” said coach Roberts.

He was also quick to credit assistant coach Joey Lee “who was a big part of the team.”

In other action, Oceanside’s U12 Boys team — the Golden Falcons — came up on the short end in the semi-final against the Electric Unicorns from Gabriola Island.

The boys left it all on the field in this one, and the lads in the yellow strip were full value for the bronze medal. The Eagles won all three of their pool games to get there.

In U11 girls action, Oceanside’s plucky squad of Lightning Bolts earned themselves a spot in the finals, winning a bronze medal.

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