Nanaimo District, Oak Bay earn trip to girls' soccer provincials

A highly competitive girls’ high school soccer season came to a careening close.

When the plastic pellets had settled from the Oak Bay High school turf field, the Nanaimo District Islanders had defeated the host Breakers 5-2 in the Island Triple-A championship game on Tuesday.

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Both teams advance to the B.C. championships May 30 to June 1 in Surrey. But neither the Lower Island regular-season champion Royal Bay Ravens, Ryan Cup-champion Reynolds Roadrunners or rising Claremont Spartans are going. That’s what a fine line it was this season.

“There are up to five teams that could have won those two provincial berths this season,” said Rich Fast, who co-coaches the Breakers with Kate Baker.

“We are just grateful that we were one of those two teams, especially for our Grade 12 players. I am very proud of our team.”

Not that it was easy to advance to provincials. Oak Bay needed two goals by Jasmine Lee in the final 15 minutes to rally for a crucial 2-1 pool victory over the Spartans.

The Breakers, led by their captain and University of Victoria Vikes-bound recruit Presley Rangel, beat the Cowichan Thunderbirds 5-0 and Royal Bay 1-0 in their other pool games to advance to the final.

Nanaimo District blanked the Stelly’s Stingers 3-0 and Dover Bay Dolphins 5-0, before edging Reynolds 2-1 in its pivotal pool game to advance to the final.

The Islanders were full value for their championship.

“We were disappointed in the final. But on the day, NDSS was the better team and deserved to win,” said Fast.

CHAMPIONSHIPS SEASON: The traditional spring sports close out the high school season with the Island track and field championships today and Thursday at Centennial Stadium. … The Howard Russell Cup Lower Island boys’ rugby final between traditional rivals Oak Bay and St. Michaels University School, who between them have produced numerous Canadian national team players for the World Cup, goes at 5 p.m. Thursday at SMUS. The Colonel Hodgkins Cup consolation final between the Belmont Bulldogs and Claremont Spartans is at Goudy Field in Langford at 3 p.m. Thursday. … The Don Burgess Trophy Lower Island high school rugby player of the year finalists are Jack Carson of Oak Bay, Chris Graham of Glenlyon Norfolk School, Jin Woo Park of SMUS, Ryder Heaney-Corns of Claremont and Spencer Logan of Belmont.

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