Ballenas Whalers senior girls soccer team finished ninth overall at the 2019 AA BC High School Soccer Championships that was held in Campbell River.
Head coach Larry Stefanek said the Whalers team played well in all five games and showed plenty of character and heart.
The championships featured 16 of the top high school girls soccer team in British Columbia.
Despite not finishing high in the rankings, the Whalers did receive individual honours when striker Jayme Scollon was awarded the Golden Boot for being the tournament’s top scorer with 13 goals. Jules Clark was presented the Commisioner’s 16 award as the Whalers’ most valuable player.
Scollon, who is only in Grade 10, credits her teammates for setting her up to score so many goals.
“We all really worked together and supported each other,” said Scollon. “All their assists really set me up for most of my goals. I would not have been able to score all the goals without their help”
Amid the searing hot temperatures the Whalers opened the tournament with an impressive 4-0 win against L.V. Rogers Bombers. The offence was sparked by Scollon, who recorded a hat trick and Clark added a goal. Goalie Leticia Moody was credited with the shutout win between the pipes.
However, in their next game, the Whalers had a tougher outing and despite having a lot of chances go their way, they were unable to convert and got blanked by Hugh McRoberts Strikers 2-0.
On the second day, the Whalers had to face the formidable St. Thomas Moore girls, who ended up winning the B.C. title.
Stefanek said the Whalers put up a good fight and grabbed the lead three minutes before halftime with Scollon finding the back of the net. However, the Strikers nullified it when they scored in the last minute before the end of the half.
The Whalers, Stefanek said, had to be aggressive offensively and took risks as they needed to win the game by three goals to win their pool. Strikers ended up scoring three late goals in a 5-2 victory. The loss left Ballenas to fight for 9th-12th spot.
In their next game, the Whalers were stretched to the limit by Valleyview Vikings before securing a narrow 4-3 win in overtime. Scollon was in sniping mood as she scored all of the Whalers’ four goals.
In their final game, the Whalers took on Holy Cross Crusaders and completely dominated 6-1. Scollon was again on target as she scored five goals, with Nicole Bolger adding a single.
It was 0-0 at halftime with both teams exchanging good scoring chances. But in the second, the Whalers elevated their game and took control with Scollon and Clark leading the offence. They were hard to stop, according to Stefanek.
Stefanek said overall the Whalers — Kylee Smith, Annika Waite, Abby Parker, Jamie Coukell, Leticia Moody, Hayley Weeks, Clark, Bolger, Casey Reumkens, Medea Torgerson, Maggie Coukell, Madison Calder, Rylie Wickman, Iroha Suzuki, Hannah Bakker, Jaime Wort and Scollon — all had a great tournament, playing to their best.
Stefanek also thanked co-coach Alli Lavoie and also to TD Canada Trust Parksville branch and Trish Illingworth for their generous contribution and sponsorship of the team.