Got giants? No problem

Los Diablos play giant-killers in their year-end soccer playdowns in Nanaimo

Los Diablos’ Nicolas Conway blocks a hard shot in the pouring rain earlier this season.

They weren’t the biggest team on the pitch by any stretch, but Oceanside’s Los Diablos played giant-killers in Nanaimo last weekend as they knocked off not only one, but two of the top-seeded teams to win gold at their NDYSS U14/U15 boys year-end playdowns.

In action on the new turf fields at Merle Logan in Nanaimo last weekend and slotted fourth in the seven-team tourney going in, the local side opened Saturday morning with a convincing 4-2 win over fifth-seeded Cedar.

In a sign of things to come, Pedro Hernandez struck for two goals and Tony Trozzo and Jacob Watson added singles.

Back at it that afternoon for the semifinals, Oceanside pulled off an upset of the huge variety when they knocked off the Nanaimo Black Ops. The top-seeded Black Ops were undefeated over the regular season.

“That was a big in for us,” confirmed Oceanside head coach Dave Robinson.

In that game, Pedro staked Oceanside to an early 1-0 lead, and Nanaimo replied in the dying minutes of the opening half for a 1-1 tie at the break

“I was a bit worried,” said Robinson. “It was our second game of the day and I thought fatigue might factor in in the second half, but I was pleasantly surprised …”

Pedro upped to 2-1 early in the second half. Trozzo made it 3-1, and Pedro completed the hat trick with about 10 minutes remaining to seal the improbable 4-1 victory.

“What’s really neat about this is that we play in a U14/ U15 division, and our team had all U14 players — we had no Grade 9 players on our team, not one, so most of the season we were playing much larger teams.”

“And this particular Black Ops team had a number of really big players.  Our guys were quite courageous — all weekend.”

Game 3 Sunday afternoon in the gold medal game against Nanaimo’s JH Mafia, Robinson said “we were outmatched for most of the first half.”

Down 2-nil at the break, Oceanside picked up their play in the second half and were carrying much of the play when they were finally rewarded with about 15 minutes remaining off a nice pass from Tony to Pedro who slotted it in the corner to cut the lead in half.

The Los Diablos cranked up the pressure, and with about six minutes left the ball fell nicely for Watson who scored “an absolute screamer from about 20 yards out top right corner. One of the most beautiful goals I’ve seen,” said Robinson, adding at that point the parents on hand went wild and the Mafia were clearly rattled.

“I have to be honest, after the first half it did not look like it was going to be our day,” said the coach, “but our guys persevered and managed to find a way to stun them with two late goals.”

Nanailmo pressed and came close as they had a couple corner kicks, but Oceanside keeper Nolin Fong “made several outstanding saves” to preserve the tie.

In the shoot-out, Oceanside went 3-for-4. Lucas Sposato scored on the final shot to secure the win, and Fong, who also took a shot and scored in the shoot-out “was a difference-maker in net all weekend for us.”

Earning high praise from their coach for their tenacious play were midfielders Theo Faust-Robinson and Wesley Terpstra “who won a lot of the little battles to get the ball back for us.”

Robinson also had props “for all my defenders,” — center-backs Nicolas Conway and Rob McIntosh, and defenders Sposato and Colin Koelewyn.

“It was awesome — just one of the best weekends of soccer I’ve got to experience in my (14) years coaching.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Parksville’s McMillan Arts Centre set to reopen on June 18

Local artists will have work on display; COVID-19 protocols observed

RDN Transit will start collecting bus fare again next week

Passenger limits will remain in effect on buses

‘A bottomless well of love for people and communities’

Parksville Qualicum Beach News editor JR Rardon dies at age 61

COVID-19: Learning continues in unique ways for SD 69 students

Youngsters find ways to excel while learning at home

Petition underway to get RDN to improve Sandpiper water quality

Campaign urges regional district to make issue a priority

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

Study looks at feasibility of Vancouver Island abattoir

South Island Prosperity Partnership funds study looking at local meat processing

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Island city cancels plan for homeless camp; exploring alternative option

The plan heard strong objection from neighbouring residents and businesses

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

36 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario, Quebec care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in long-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

B.C. poison control sees spike in adults, children accidentally ingesting hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer sales and usage have gone up sharply amid COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read