It’s March, and for a lot of kids that means one last push at their respective year-end playdowns.
Oceanside’s U13 boys and girls teams were in Ladysmith over the weekend for their playoffs, and the U14/U15’s were in action in Nanaimo.
The playoffs kicked off the week before with the U16/U18 playdowns in Nanaimo.
Closer to home, some 90 local players were in action March 3-4 for Nanaimo and District Youth Soccer’s annual U11/U12 year-end playdowns.
A true double knockout format played out on the pitches of Parksville (there were games at Springwood Park and at the Community Fields), the top team from each pool advanced to Sunday’s playoffs.
No local teams finished in the medals this year, but that doesn’t take away from the dedication and competitive spirit displayed by Oceanside’s young players — some 400 in all — this year. Oceanside had teams in every division at the tourney including two teams in the U12 boys and a side of U10 boys all in the mix.
Oceanside #2 was the top placing local side as the U12 boys won their first two games, lost their third, won their fourth in thrilling fashion and came up just short in the third/fourth game.
“That was their fifth game in one day, so yeah they were tired,” Oceanside head coach Robin Volk said after.
According to Volk, the local side opened the tourney Saturday morning with a solid 7-2 win over Nanaimo #2 and followed that up with a 6-3 decision over Ladysmith. Back at it for their third of five games that day, O2 came up on the short end of a 3-nil final against Nanaimo #3, then bounced back with their best game of the season.
In that one, they battled back from three goals down to beat ‘the dream team’ from Nanaimo.
Down 3-buzz at the half, Oceanside came out flying in the second and Kabrin Molina-Ware struck for two quick goals and Bruno Brett scored to even it up with five minutes remaining.
Bruno, Brennen Volk, Jacob Whittenburg and Ethan Smith all fed the net in the shootout to nail down the win and Oceanside’s keeper David Kim stood his ground.
“From a coach’s point of view I was impressed with how they came together and grew as a team,” said Volk, pointing out, “the other thing is they asked to have extra practices.”
Volk said it was a kind of a bad news bears start to the season, “but these guys all came out on Sunday’s as well, so that helped a lot. That was huge.
The comeback win over Nanaimo “was very exciting. Actually that was our best game of the year,” he said, adding, “everybody played well and it came down to the last shooter in the shootout. It was certainly the most stressful for the coach,” he laughed.
A reminder that Oceanside Youth Soccer’s Spring Pony League, for players in U6 through to U10 starts April 11/12 and runs through to the second week of June.
For more information or to register go to www.oceansideyouthsoccer.com.