Roadrunners’ offence missing on opening day of girls soccer provincials

The problem with competing in a short and sweet provincial tournament is, recording a tie in one of your first two games on opening day is akin to stepping on a piece of chewed gum on the scorching pavement in the parking lot.

You tend to spend some time peeling it off.

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The Reynolds Roadrunners are in that sticky situation after Day 1 of the B.C. triple-A senior girls soccer championship at the University of Victoria.

After an opening scoreless draw against Kelowna in the morning, coach J.J. Atterbury’s troops dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to the No. 3 Argyle Pipers on the grass pitch of Field 4.

Katie Bishop pounced on a loose ball in the 50th minute to give the Pipers the victory in Pool A after recording a 0-0 tie against Dr. Charles Best in the morning.

The lone goal came after a pair of dazzling saves by Roadrunners keeper Nicole Smythe, diving to her left to stone Teagan Mackay and then to her right to thwart a header from Sophie Swant off a corner kick.

“The win feels great. It’s always much better going into the evening, resting and knowing you a have a chance to go to the semifinals, depending on what happens [today],” said Pipers coach Darren Rath.

“We can only control what we do. I’m proud of the team today, especially in the second half when we started moving the ball around the field. It was much better than our first half and the girls were rewarded.”

The Pipers are not in the clear, however, as Charles Best hammered Kelowna 4-0 in the afternoon and hold a huge margin in goals for and against, should it come to that when the two teams meet today.

As for Reynolds, Atterbury’s club is now on the outside looking in and still scraping off a bit of that gum.

“Our girls worked hard today, we just came up short obviously on the goal-scoring end, unfortunately,” he said. “We created enough chances in my opinion today and sometimes that happens in soccer, where you don’t get that bounce or that final piece to the puzzle.”

The Roadrunners were game against Argyle as Pipers keeper Megan Palmer punched aside Natalie Koehn’s late strong effort off a corner and also stopped Amy Melvie in the waning minutes.

The host Stelly’s Stingers (runners-up in the Island championship) also tied their first outing, 1-1 against Kitsilano, in Pool B play before rebounding for a 3-0 victory over Princess Margaret in the afternoon thanks to two goals from Kiara Kilbey and a single from Kelsey Boudreau.

“It puts us in a good position,” said Stingers assistant coach Greg Fiddick.

But the Stingers are far from clear as No. 1 Elgin Park controls the pool after 3-1 and 3-0 victories over Princess Margaret and Kitsilano, respectively. Stelly’s now attempts to sink the Fraser Valley champion Orcas today at 11 a.m. on Field 2B for a semifinal spot.

Meanwhile, Island champions, the Oak Bay Breakers, opened with a 2-0 win over Sir Winston Churchill before out-lasting South Delta 1-0 in the afternoon. That result sets up a huge 9 a.m. clash against Panorama Ridge (also 2-0) on Field 3.

The four Pool winners will meet this afternoon in semifinal play at 1 and 3 p.m. on Field 3 with victors advancing to the championship final at noon on Saturday at Centennial Stadium, following the 10 a.m. bronze-medal game.

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