Whalers win four of five at provincials

Parksville team played well but untimely loss earned them fifth place in the province

The Ballenas Whalers senior girls soccer team is home after a successful showing at the provincials

It wasn’t quite the result they were hoping for but the Ballenas Whalers senior girls soccer team is home from a fifth place finish at provincials.

The Whalers finished the tournament with a 4-1 record, but it was that one loss, a tough 2-1 decision to Windsor (North Vancouver) that saw them finish the provincials in the consolation side of the bracket.

“It was a good game, very even,” head coach Larry Stefanek. “They had just a little more than us in that game, it was very close though.”

“We had a couple half chances in the last 10 minutes of that game but we couldn’t tie it up. Credit to the girls though, they all played very hard.”

In the end, the Whalers senior girls squad finished in fifth place, beating LV Rogers (Nelson) in a 4-0 final.

Emily Robertson had a hat trick in the final game, with Sophie Palmer adding a goal.

Winning four of their five games was a great showing for the Whalers but it was the one loss, at the wrong point in the tournament, which proved to be the dagger.

“Yeah, that one game was the wrong one to lose,” Stefanek said. “Any team in the top five at this tournament could have won it.”

“We had three Island teams finish in the top five (Brooks, SMUS and Ballenas) so that’s also a huge positive too. We played some good soccer all season long and I’m very proud of these girls.”

Emily Robertson, who was on fire when it came to scoring goals all season, finished the provincial tournament with eight goals, giving her the Golden Boot award when it was all said and done.

Robertson scored two goals in each of the first two games, another tally in the fourth and a hat trick in the final game.

“Pretty impressive stuff,” Stefanek said. “She’s been our top scorer all season and has a knack for finding the back of the net.”

“The nice thing about it all for us was that she was consistent in that aspect of things all season from her, very impressive.”

Awards handed out for Player of the Game came in the form of Olivia Friesen in game one, Sophie Palmer in game two, Bronwyn Kirk in game three, Erin Pickup in game four and Claudia Ritzker in the final game.

The Whalers team also walked away with the Fair Play Award, given to the most sportsmanlike team in the tournament.

“We had a great tournament,” Stefanek said. “I’m very proud of these girls.”

“When you win four out of five games, that’s a great tournament and usually means you’re in the medals but unfortunately it was just the wrong loss at the wrong time that put us on the other side of the bracket.”

“We had a great season though and this group of girls should be very proud of what they accomplished here this year.”

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