The Reynolds Roadrunners battled adversity early to claim their first Ryan Cup senior girls soccer city championship with a 2-1 victory (4-2 in penalty kicks) over the Oak Bay Breakers on a sun-soaked turf field at the University of Victoria on Thursday afternoon.
Down 1-0 in the 10th minute and having lost starting goalkeeper Nicole Smythe in a collision on Hannah Cater’s goal for Oak Bay, the Roadrunners dug in their heels.
Natalie Koehn’s goal in the 40th minute tied it and neither team managed to find the mark again after the full 80 minutes and two added 10-minute halves in the 1-1 draw.
Reynolds connected on all four of its penalty kicks, with captain Lexi Fawcett’s spot shot officially ending it after Roadrunners’ keeper Puck Louwes made a pair of stops off Sophie De Goede and Emma Bon in which she barely had to move.
“It’s pretty exciting. It’s the first time the Reynolds’ name is going on the cup so we’re all pretty excited. I don’t think anyone realized we had won. It took [referee Ian Bridge] a while to blow it over,” Fawcett said with a chuckle of the much delayed reaction.
The whistle set the celebration officially in motion.
Meghan Wallden opened the kicks for Reynolds with a goal up high on Breakers keeper Andrea Pellat. Kelsey Carrothers, Koehn and Fawcett then all beat Pellat low to her right as if they had found a susceptible spot.
“I think we just went up and kicked,” said Fawcett, when asked if there was a method to the PK madness. “It was pretty nerve-racking going into PKs.”
Meaghan Kivell and Holly Goodacre had scored low to Louwe’s right on the first two Oak Bay penalties.
“I hate penalty kicks,” said Oak Bay coach Brent Garroway. “Especially in a battle like that, you’d like to see one good goal win a game like that. But they did well to finish their penalties and made a couple of saves. I thought it was a very, very even, well-battled game today. It’s unfortunate one team has to lose.”
It was a very cautious game as both teams refused to take chances.
Cater’s opening goal was a dandy as she ran on to a gorgeous cross from De Goede that found her in full flight. She collided with Smythe, who went down and never got up, helped off and then laid behind the net for another 40 minutes before a stretcher took her away.
Koehn tied it on a nice stutter-step transition from her right to left foot before beating Pellat.
“Great fake, she pulled it back and hit it well. She can hit a ball hard and she did it for us today,” Reynolds coach J.J. Atterbury said of the tally.
“The girls battled. They didn’t quit. We were down, they came back and battled hard for their injured keeper. They showed a lot of heart, so I’m really proud of the group,” added Atterbury, who watched his midfielder Josee Marshall hit the post late in the second extra time. “It gives us a good springboard into the Islands.”
The triple-A Island tournament will be hosted by Stelly’s and begins Monday, while the single-A Islands go at Glenlyon Norfolk School. The double-A event is in Courtenay.