Olivia Williams of Kwalikum Secondary tries to settle a throw-in ball as Ballenas defender Kate Reynolds moves in during the teams’ senior AA girls soccer match at Ballenas Secondary School Thursday, March 30, 2017. — J.R. Rardon photo

Olivia Williams of Kwalikum Secondary tries to settle a throw-in ball as Ballenas defender Kate Reynolds moves in during the teams’ senior AA girls soccer match at Ballenas Secondary School Thursday, March 30, 2017. — J.R. Rardon photo

Ballenas soccer program bounces back with big win

Parksville school returns from one-year hiatus with 5-0 victory over KSS

Low turnout shelved the Ballenas Secondary School senior girls soccer program last spring. But there was nothing wrong with the restored Whalers in last Thursday’s 5-0 win over visiting Kwalikum Secondary.

Kate Reynolds scored two goals and Carmen Horcerada, Nicole Bolger and Maya Cudney each added scores for Ballenas, which did most of its damage while racing to a 4-0 halftime lead. Goalkeeper Jenna Meldrum earned the shutout for the Whalers.

With insufficient numbers to field a senior team a year ago, Ballenas poured its resources into a large junior squad. The ‘grads’ from that team, along with returning Grade 12s who were unable to compete last year, make up the current Whalers team.

And now it’s the rival Kondors who are struggling with low player numbers.

“We’ve just got one team,” Kwalikum coach Ruth Stefanek said of her “senior” team, which is made up of players from Grades 8 through 12.

At least the Kondors can field a team. Ballenas soccer coach and athletic director Larry Stefanek — Ruth’s husband — said Nanaimo District Secondary has withdrawn from the mid-Island AA conference for senior girls soccer. Ballenas had been scheduled to host the Islanders this Thursday, and now find themselves with just one more home contest, next Tuesday vs. Ladysmith.

Ruth Stefanek said the Kondors also have just two home dates this season, April 11 against Wellington and April 20 against Dover Bay.

— NEWS Staff