Reynolds, SMUS fight to retain provincial soccer crowns

 

Some notable players have come out of B.C. high school boys’ soccer, with Ian Bridge (Vic High), George Pakos (Esquimalt), Jamie Lowery (Alberni District), Bruce Wilson (Centennial of Coquitlam), Bob Lenarduzzi (Vancouver College) and Randy Samuel (McNair of Richmond) even going on to play in the World Cup.

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They could tell the current generation a thing or two. Like winning a championship is one thing. Defending it quite another.

Defending is the task facing B.C. Triple-A high school champion Reynolds Roadrunners and Double-A St. Michaels University School Blue Jags,during the 2017 provincial championships this week at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex.

SMUS is nearly there, having reached the B.C. Double-A championship game today against Langley Fundamental after beating St. Thomas Aquinas of North Vancouver 1-0 in overtime Tuesday in the semifinals.

Langley Fundamental defeated Archbishop Carney of Port Coquitlam 1-0 in the other semifinal. The championship game between Langley Fundamental and SMUS starts this morning at 11:15, preceded by the bronze-medal game between Archbishop Carney and St. Thomas Aquinas.

SMUS defeated Charles Hays of Prince Rupert 2-0, Thomas Haney 3-0 and Hugh McRoberts of Richmond 2-0 to win Pool A. Brentwood College placed second in Pool C after beating Notre Dame of Vancouver 3-1 and Windsor of North Vancouver 3-0 before dropping a pivotal 1-0 decision to pool-champion Archbishop Carney. Brentwood College ended Tuesday by beating Valleyview of Kamloops 2-1 on the consolation side.

Carihi of Campbell River placed third in Pool D after losing 1-0 to Langley Fundamental and 2-0 to Valleyview and beating LV Rogers of Nelson 2-0. Carhi began the consolation round with a 9-1 win over Notre Dame.

The Triple-A championships, meanwhile, are Thursday through Saturday. The defending champion Roadrunners have been placed in Pool D with Sardis from Chilliwack, McMath of Richmond and Fleetwood Park of Surrey.

“It’s a competitive pool. Fleetwood Park is always strong and, hopefully, we are ready to go, starting with our first game Thursday morning against Sardis,” Reynolds head coach J.J. Atterbury said.

“We just have to continue playing our game, which is technical and based on moving the ball with quick passing,” he said. “And, as always in championship tournaments, you need to defend well.”

Reynolds fashioned quite the tale last year in winning its first B.C. championship in boys’ soccer on the 50th anniversary of the school’s founding. The resurgent Roadrunners in 2016 also won their first Colonist Cup Lower Island crown since back-to-back championships in 1982 and 1983. The 2016 team produced a bumper graduating class that provided U Sports freshman players this season for the UVic Vikes, UBC Thunderbirds and UNBC Timberwolves.

“That was really good to see and, hopefully, this group of Grade 12 players can also go on to play at the university level,” Atterbury said.

Having already won a B.C. high school title will prove invaluable for Roadrunners seniors, such as midfielders Sergio Duran and Paul Schafer.

“That experience from last year really helped as our Grade 12s stepped up this year and have grown into their leadership roles,” Atterbury said.

Reynolds suffered its first loss in two years last week when it was beaten 1-0 by Oak Bay in the 2017 Colonist Cup final. That was after the Roadrunners had edged the Bays 3-2 in the Island final.

“We are going to use the Colonist Cup result as motivation and to get hungry,” Atterbury said.

The Bays are in Pool A of the Triple-A provincial tournament with North Peace, Burnaby Central and Panorama Ridge of Surrey.

The B.C. high school boys’ soccer championship season began with the St. Andrew’s Sabres of Saanich, led by tournament MVP Michael Keane, winning their third provincial Single-A championship this month in Nakusp with a 2-1 victory over West Point Grey Academy in the final.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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