Emily Tavolino, centre, accepts congratulations from her Ballenas Secondary School teammates after scoring the lone goal in the Whalers’ 1-0 senior girls soccer win over Ladysmith in Parksville Tuesday, April 11, 2017. — J.R. Rardon photo

Whalers remain unbeaten with 1-0 win over Ladysmith

Second-period goal stands up as Ballenas improves to 2-0 in league play

It won’t make any highlight reel, but Emily Tavolino’s second-period goal drew rave reviews from her Ballenas Secondary School girls soccer teammates Tuesday afternoon.

Tavolino’s slow-rolling kick eluded the Ladysmith goaltender in the 59th minute and stood up the rest of the match as the Whalers downed the visiting 49ers 1-0 in Mid-Island North AA play.

“One-nil was a good win,” Ballenas coach Larry Stefanek said. “Based on the run of play it could have been three goals. The girls just played a great possession game, moving the ball front-to-back and side-to-side. Eventually, it paid dividends.”

Tavolino, a striker who played for the Ballenas junior team a year ago while the senior program was temporarily shelved, got few chances in the open field Tuesday. But she made the most of a try in traffic just inside the 18-yard penalty line in the early part of the second half.

Chipping the ball to her left to avoid a Ladysmith defender in the crowded box, the right-footed Tavolino drove a left-footed kick to the opposite post. The goalkeeper made a running grab and got one hand on the ball, but it squirted free and across the goal line to set off an onfield celebration by the Whalers.

“It was all bunched up,” Tavolino said. “It was kind of a light tap, but (the goalkeeper) tried for it and it got by.”

Ballenas improved to 2-0 in league play, with just one more counting game to go. The Whalers will travel to play Wellington Secondary in Nanaimo, and will host AAA Dover Bay Thursday, April 20, in a non-league game before entering the North Island championship tournament.