You can add the name of another Oceanside soccer team to garner gold in their division at the year-end play-downs — this title made all the sweeter because they bucked the odds.
In action in Nanaimo last weekend for the U16/18 Girls finals, Oceanside’s upstart Impact side, which finished the regular season sitting last in their eight team league, captured lightening in a bottle, going unbeaten with a clean slate in three games to claim the title.
The Impact set the tone in their opening game Saturday morning with a stunning 1-0 upset win over the top-seeded Nanaimo Spain team in a game that had to be decided in a shootout.
Deadlocked in a scoreless tie after regulation time, Molly McKay slotted home the winner for Oceanside in extras.
Back at it that afternoon in the semifinal, Oceanside blanked the fourth ranked Mid-Isle Hurricanes 4-nil off goals from Elle Spicer, Joyalea Carson-Austin, Elly Tomasson, and ‘Bex’ Edge with her first of the year.
Tomasson’s goal, a perfectly timed left-footed volley (she’s right footed) top corner, “was one of the nicest goals of the year,” Impact coach Dan MacKay said after.
“We played well in all three games, but that was probably our best all-round game of the year,” the long-serving local volunteer coach said of the win that set the stage for a well-played all-Oceanside final.
In Sunday’s final against the Oceanside Dynamite, who were seeded #2 based on regular season standings, the two teams played to a scoreless tie through regulation time; both teams hit the post in the shootout, and Molly made good on another winner in extras for the Impact.
“Very well played game; great sportsmanship between the two teams,” said MacKay, adding “it was a very tight game — it could have gone either way. The defence on both teams was really good.”
Indeed — the Impact defence didn’t give up a goal in three games.
Impact keeper Randi Joyce was sharp to earn the three shutouts. Also earning props from their coach for their efforts on the pitch were Jenna Auringer, who played her final games for Oceanside, along with Chloe Pezel, Emma Patterson, Tess Slamen, Sierra Fraser, Cassie Child, Emma Orrick, Hailey Robinson, Katja Pescke, Savannah Campbell and Baileigh Wikeruk. Unable to make the tournament but part of the team were Maria Milligan and Lauren Muir.
“Probably one of the nicest group of girls I’ve ever coached,” said coach MacKay. “They were dedicated, they came out to practice in the pouring rain, in the cold.
“This is a young team,” he said, pointing out “we only have three 18-year-olds and we finished last in the league, but this is a group of girls that just won’t quit. My favourite word for this team is ‘tenacious’, and of course I’m very proud of the team — it was quite an upset.”