Ballenas Whalers capture third straight victory

Parksville team will be the number one team from the North in the Island Championships in Comox starting Monday

For the third straight year in a row, the Ballenas Whalers senior girls soccer team has captured the North Island Championship and are heading to the Island tournament in Comox next week.

It was a clean sheet right across the board for the Whalers as they managed to win all four of their games without conceding a single goal from all four opponents. This bumps their streak to six games without allowing a goal now.

In the finals, the Whalers took on the Brooks Bobcats (Powell River) in a tight game that needed penalty kicks to crown a winner. In the end, the Whalers came away with the victory, giving them three straight North Island titles.

The Whalers girls will be the number one seed from the North, as they will play out the Island Championships at Mark Isfeld Secondary School in Comox, which starts Monday, May 11.

“It was a great tournament for us,” head coach Larry Stefanek said.

“Our team played solid from the back end and our attacking game was right where it needed to be. It speaks volumes about the defense and goalkeeping of this team, not having given up a goal in their last six games, it’s incredible.”

That defense coach Stefanek speaks of has been playing well their last six games, without a goal from opponents in all six contests.

Goalkeeper Olivia Collins has been the last line of defense for the Whalers in goal, stopping all shots coming her way. Defenders Bronwyn Kirk, Olivian Friesen, Kate Reynolds, Heavenly Brock and Kyla Squire have all done their part as well, making sure that Collins can find the ball on it’s way through, whenever it does.

“The defense has been solid,” Stefanek said.

“We’ve been playing a great team game through these last six and we’re hoping that we’ll be able to continue it from this point forward at the Islands.”

On their way through to capturing the North Island title, the Whalers beat out the Kwalikum Kondors (5-0), Brentwood (4-0), Mark Isfeld (1-0) and then Brooks in the final on penalty kicks.

It was a balanced scoring attack for the Whalers, as Emily Robertson led the way with three goals in game one, along with Sophie Palmer and Chloe Pezel adding a goal each against the Kondors. Robertson continued to find the back of the net; scoring two against Brentwood, Palmer added another goal and Claudia Ritzker rounded out the scoring.

Megan McCrae scored the lone goal for the Whalers in their third game against Mark Isfeld.

The Whalers now have a chance to make Provincials, with three berths from the Island tournament up for grabs.

Having won six straight games, without giving up a single goal in all six games, the Whalers chances are good but they know there is still a lot of work to be done to make it there.

“We’re in a good spot but it’s going to be tough,” Stefanek said.

“We’re a talented team up front with Emily and Sophie and our defense has been great for us, not giving up many chances. We’re close but our goal is to make Provincials, so that’s what we’re looking for.”

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