With the blooms and allergies come the traditional Big Three spring, year-ending sports of the high school season — girls’ soccer, boys’ rugby and track and field.
The Lower Island girls’ soccer season promises a combination of talent and balance. An early-season fixture Tuesday at Lochside Park featured two U Sports-bound players committed in the fall to the University of Victoria Vikes — Oak Bay Breakers captain Presley Rangel and Claremont Spartans goalkeeper Kayley Lidstone. The Breakers won 3-0.
“It’s going to be a very competitive league,” said Rich Fast, who co-coaches the Breakers, with former UVic Vikes national-champion player Kate Baker.
“Royal Bay is very good with its academy program, Reynolds is always strong, and we feel we have good depth, as well.”
The Breakers, 2-1 in league play, bring a tradition of winning, but one that has fallen just a step short. Oak Bay made the B.C. championship game in 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2013 only to finish second in the province each time.
The Spartans, 2-2 in league, also expect to be in contention this season.
“We’re growing as a team,” said Claremont coach Rachel Yager, in her third season.
“It’s early. We’re getting the kinks out. But we feel we are strong offensively.”
The Spartans beat Mount Douglas and Stelly’s. But Yager pointed to the 1-0 loss to the Reynolds Roadrunners as perhaps the biggest proof that her club is at home among the elite.
The Lower Island regular season runs through April 25.
The Ryan Cup quarter-finals are April 30, semifinals May 2 and final on May 7 at the UVic turf field.
The Island championship tournament for Triple-A is May 13-14 at Oak Bay.
“Hosting always gives you somewhat of an advantage, because you know the field, and are in your comfort zone,” said Fast.
The Double-A Island championship is May 13-14 at Brentwood College and the Single-A Islands are May 9-10 at St. Andrew’s.
The B.C. championships run May 30 to June 1 with the Triple-A in Surrey, Double-A in Campbell River and Single-A in Nakusp.