The Ballenas Whalers senior girls soccer team is on its way to the Island Championships after winning the North Islands last week in Powell River.
The Whalers won two games and had a draw to give them seven points, winning their group and advancing to the North Island Final. Ballenas went on to beat Mark Isfeld (Comox) 4–0 to win the championship.
Sophie Palmer and Emily Robertson led the way up front, with Palmer finding the back of the net five times and Robertson four times in four games Keeper Olivia Collins earned a clean sheet in three of the four games, as the Whalers beat Brentwood College 5–0, Shawnigan Lake 2–0 and Mark Isfeld 4–0. The draw came against the host Brooks, which ended in a score of 2–2.
Game one against Brentwood College saw the Whalers come out of the gates flying. Palmer put the ball in the back of the net twice, while Robertson, Celine Tardif and Olivia Friesen each scored for a 5–0 final. Collins stood tall and earned the shutout.
The Whalers second test came against Shawnigan Lake. Both Robertson and Palmer bulged the twine, giving the Whalers a 2–0 lead, which they held on to for the win. Collins earned her second straight clean sheet and the Whalers defense made it tough on Shawnigan all game long.
“Our girls performed really well over the two-day tournament and have improved weekly from the start of the season,” head coach Larry Stefanek said.
“We really dominated the North Island final and were strong in possession. The girls really defended well with Olivia Friesen, Heavenly Brock, Bronwyn Kirk and Tianna Squire anchoring the back line and Olivia was excellent in goal.”
Game three ended in a draw for the Whalers against the host Brooks team from Powell River. It was a tight game, with Robertson scoring both times for the Whalers. With the draw, the Whalers advanced to the North Island final to take on Mark Isfeld.
Ballenas once again came out firing on all cylinders, as Palmer had another two goal game, with Brock and Lexy Berg pitching in to help lead the Whalers to a 4–0 victory and the North Island championship. Collins earned her third clean sheet of the tournament.
The Whalers are in Victoria, May 12-13, at Saint Michaels University School for the Island tournament. With three berths from the Island up for grabs to make it to the provincials, the competition is going to be tough.
“The Islands are going to be a big challenge,” Stefanek said. “We’ve got Gulf Islands in our first game, followed by NDSS and both of those teams will be tough. Our third game of the group stage is against Lambrick Park on Tuesday and they’ve always got a strong side. We’re looking forward to it though, it should be a lot of fun for us.”
Check Thursday’s edition of The NEWS for the results.