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After six shootouts, Riptide take title
March came in like a lion and the Riptide U14 boys “roared” to an Island championship.
“To be Island champions at this level of soccer is a huge accomplishment,” said coach Bruce Mitchell. “The boys and staff should be very proud. I’ve certainly never been prouder of a group of boys.”
The Campbell River/Comox Valley club plays in the Upper Island Soccer Association and on March 7, travelled to Ladysmith to take on a good Nanaimo Storm team. The Riptide shutout Nanaimo 2-0 and less than 36 hours later were headed further south to play in the Tier 2 Island championship.
This time the team faced unbeaten Saanich Fusion. After the full 70 minutes the game remained as scoreless tie, leading to a 20-minute overtime.
Just two minutes into OT, Saanich scored and then fell back into a defensive mode to protect the lead. But the Riptide was relentless and were rewarded with the game-tying goal with just two minutes left in OT.
With the score tied 1-1, the two teams went to the shootout where the Riptide finally prevailed after six rounds.
“At the beginning of the season we asked the boys to be the best they could be. Win or lose, we asked them to work hard, give everything you’ve got and be proud of what you accomplish,” said Mitchell. “Well, I can tell you the boys left it all on the field, never gave up, and through skill, effort and intensity, came out on top!”
The title win qualifies the Riptide for the provincials which take place this July in Burnaby.
This past weekend, the boys travelled to Surrey for the Mayor’s Cup – one of the biggest tournaments in the province – and came away with second place finish.
Playing conditions were poor due to the weather, but the Riptide managed two wins and two losses; one in a shootout and the other by one goal.
The tournament also gave the local boys experience leading up to the provincials as all the top teams from the Lower Mainland and the Interior were there.
The Riptide’s next game is the quarter-final of the Coastal Cup, taking place April 6, at Valleyview in Courtenay.