St. Andrew's Sabres slice up Single-A soccer competition

The St. Andrew’s Sabres kick-started the high school boys’ soccer post-season into high gear by successfully defending their B.C. Single-A championship. The Sabres became back-to-back provincial holders by defeating Immaculata of Kelowna 2-1 in overtime in the final played in Duncan.

“We had a sense of camaraderie and a team work ethic,” said Sabres head coach Mark Cristante, who won the third B.C. championship in his 10 years at St. Andrew’s, and the school’s fourth overall.

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“We had a buy-in factor and we came together. We had a real team approach. It reminded me of my old Gorge FC days.”

Cristante played on the last two of Gorge’s four Province Cup men’s championship teams from 2001 to 2010.

Andrew Pearse of St. Andrew’s was named MVP of the B.C. Single-A tournament.

Now it’s the turn of the big schools as the Island Triple-A championship begins today. The Reynolds Roadrunners and Oak Bay Bays would be favoured regardless of where the Island tournament is taking place this year. The fact they are co-hosting only amplifies their favourites’ status.

Pool B is being played at Braefoot Park, home of the Roadrunners, where South No. 2 Reynolds opens against the North No. 1 Cowichan Thunderbirds at 10 a.m. before meeting the South No. 3 Royal Bay Ravens at 3 p.m. Cowichan plays Royal Bay at 12:30 in the other game at Braefoot.

The Roadrunners, 2016 B.C. Triple-A champions and third in the province last year, are looking to build on their success of recent seasons. The impact of the program can be felt a few blocks up McKenzie Avenue as five Reynolds alumni played in U Sports this season for Bruce Wilson’s University of Victoria Vikes team, including 10-goal UVic freshman sensation Matteo Ventura.

South Island No. 1 Oak Bay, however, believes it has the talent this year to drop the anvil on the Roadrunners. Host Oak Bay begins that post-season quest today in Pool A, opening against the South No. 4 Claremont Spartans at 10 a.m. and playing the North No. 2 Dover Bay Dolphins at 3 p.m. Claremont and Dover Bay meet at 12:30.

The pool winners will meet in the championship game Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at Oak Bay. Both finalists will advance to the B.C. Triple-A championship tournament Nov. 22-24 in Burnaby.

The Island bronze-medal game is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday at Braefoot.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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