It was home sweet home for the Carihi girls soccer team which captured the Island AAA title on Tuesday afternoon.
“Not too bad,” said a smiling John Jepson, the team’s coach as he walked onto the pitch to shake hands with members of the Claremont Spartans of Victoria.
In a fitting victory, the Carihi Tyees shut-out the favoured Spartans 2-0, and denied Claremont its third straight Island title.
The local girls led 1-0 at the half; Anika Shelsrud made a nice run, an even nicer cross, and the ball was calmly swept into the corner of the net by Karlyn Healy for the game opener.
In the second half, a re-energized Spartans squad started exerting some offensive pressure, but Carihi goalkeeper Hayley Craddock was stellar and made several impressive saves to blank Claremont.
Then it was left to Eilidh “Razza” Rasmussen to seal the game for the Tyees with a super-dazzling run down the middle where she danced past three defenders before finding the back of the net.
It was the sixth straight post-season victory for Carihi which went undefeated in two games at the North Island finals, before rattling off four more in front of home-field fans.
The Tyees also allowed just one goal in the four games during the Island finals.
The team started off by spanking Spectrum of Victoria 5-0 on Monday morning. In the afternoon, Carihi defeated Alberni Secondary 4-1.
In Tuesday morning’s semi-final, the Tyees blanked Belmont of Victoria 2-0 on goals by Razza, on a penalty, and Claire Pomeroy.
In the other match for third and fourth place, with the winner going to the provincials, Belmont edged Oak Bay 2-1.
For the Tyees, this will be the team’s ninth visit to the provincial championships since the mid-1990s. But on Tuesday, coach Jepson was savouring the Island title victory.
“It is rare for a coach to witness their team truly maximize their potential,” he said. “The Tyees did just that on the final day and it was a thrill to witness it.”
The provincial finals take place May 31-June 1 at Fleetwood Park in Surrey.