The Vancouver Island Premier League (VIPL) girls U-18 Storm soccer team has been on a tear all season, finishing in first, with a league title to their name.
Leading into the playoffs, the Storm compiled a record of 16 wins, one loss and two ties, good for 50 of a possible 57 points on the season.
With one game remaining, the team has secured first place in the league and earned a bye through to the semi-finals.
“These girls have played great, they’ve had a fantastic season,” head coach Larry Stefanek said. “They’ve been so great to coach, it’s a team that’s great at both ends of the field.”
“Offensively, we’ve been averaging 3.5 goals per game, which is pretty good, we’re able to find the back of the net often. Defensively, we’ve only allowed 15 goals all season, which speaks volumes to our team’s defense. I believe we’ve also had five games with clean sheets, anytime you can keep the opponent off the scoreboard is a great defensive game.”
With the league title locked down, the Storm still have their work cut out for them if they wish to find themselves playing for the Coastal Cup and provincials later this year.
“We’ve got to win to get there,” Stefanek said. “We’ll need to win our Island Cup in order to move on to play in both the Coastal Cup and provincials. It’s nice, in a sense, because a team like us has the same chance as the rest of the teams that make the playoffs. It leaves it wide open, especially being a one and done scenario, it makes things that much more exciting. But I like our chances, these girls have been on their game all season and we’re not quite done yet.”
The Storm has players from all over the central Island, including four locals. The league includes four teams in Greater Victoria, two on the north Island and Riptide with players from Courtenay and further north.
“It’s great to see players from all over coming together,” Stefanek said. “There’s so many different layers going on with the game of soccer these days, with all the academies, schools and various clubs all across B.C. Even here in the VIPL, we’ve got teams going from U14 to U18, both boys and girls, as well as working with all the clubs that are a tier below the VIPL and the tiers above us as well. We’re always connecting with clubs, doing our best to find those players who are looking to advance in the game. There’s so many good players and so many ways for kids to advance themselves with all the training options available, things are really looking up for soccer on Vancouver Island.”
Locals Alex Shaw, Larissa Stefanek, Kate Reynolds and Caitlyn Lee will all look to continue as key players in the Storm’s march to the Island Cup, with their next game Feb. 27, opponent still to be determined.