On Tuesday, October 10th, the U13A team made the long journey to Victoria, BC to participate in the annual CAIS National Soccer tournament involving 16 teams from across the country. For the last 3 years, the team has managed to earn a spot in the finals of the tourney, winning it last in 2014-15. The team trained hard this season in hope of finishing this year’s tournament with a similar result.
After taking some time to adjust to the time change and take in some whale watching, the Blues kicked off the tournament by playing last year’s Champions, Glenlyon Norfolk School (GNS) from BC. The match was very close with both teams demonstrating tenacity, great soccer sense, and an eagerness to do their best. GNS was victorious beating the Blues 2-1 in a tightly contested match. However, the Blues were resilient and recovered quickly by defeating Royal St. George’s from Toronto and St John’s Ravenscourt from Winnipeg, later in the day. This earned the Blues a second place finish and a spot in one of the Championship pools with Selwyn House, St George’s of Vancouver, and Crescent School on day #2.
Friday morning saw the Blues win 3-0 over Selwyn House by displaying some great technical play and teamwork. Next up was a very difficult match against St George’s of Vancouver who were so far undefeated in the tourney. The boys battled hard and earned a 1-1 tie against a very talented side, and once again displayed some terrific team defense and a commitment to working for each other. The last match of the day saw the Blues play their cross-town rivals, Crescent School, who earlier in the year played some fantastic soccer and beat the Blues 1-0 on their home field. However, the boys were eager to redeem themselves and demonstrated some of their best soccer throughout the tournament and won 3-0, which earned them first place in their pool and a spot in a semifinal against the Collingwood Cavaliers from West Vancouver.
In their semifinal the boys came out strong and moved the ball around the field very well while building up their attack from their own final third. The Blues were unable to capitalize on many of their chances and were only leading 1-0 moving into the second half. Collingwood enjoyed a strong start to the second half but the Blues consistently stymied their attack by playing some compact and solid team defence. However, with no time remaining the Cavaliers managed to squeak a goal by the Blues and dramatically shifted momentum to their side while moving into overtime. In the end, and with the Blues a little shell shocked, the Cavaliers maintained their momentum and earned a victory over the Blues by the end of overtime.
The Blues would like to sincerely thank their parents for all of their support throughout the tournament. Your efforts ensured that the boys were always feeling comfortable and ready to play. UCC would also like to thank Glenlyon Norfolk School for doing a great job of hosting the tournament and always making us feel welcome.