Southridge beats Brebeuf for second straight soccer title
The Southridge Storm senior boys soccer team successfully defended its Fraser Valley championship banner last week, after a 3-1 victory over Abbotsford's John Brebeuf Bears.
The Storm now prepare for a third trip to single-A provincials in as many years, Nov. 1-3 in Victoria.
"It was a really good achievement for the guys," said head coach Gordon Smith. "They're tough to read sometimes, but I think they're excited and in a really good mindset (provincials)."
Last year, after entering as Fraser Valley champions, Southridge placed fifth at B.C. Championships. In 2010, they were 16th.
Tuesday in South Surrey, the Storm jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Grade 9 midfielder Amit Dhaliwal fired a shot into the top corner of the net.
Soon after making it 1-0, Southridge doubled its lead when centre-back Justin Buttar headed home a Shayne Reaume corner kick.
Down by a pair, Brebeuf pressured the Storm late in the first half, but were unable to put a goal on the board. Just before halftime, Reaume made it 3-0.
In the second half, the Bears finally managed to beat Southridge goalkeeper Chris Lauzon to make it 3-1 but they were unable to bridge the gap further as the clock wound down.
"We really did just kind of hold on in the second half. We had our chances still, but we're going to need to be more consistent," Smith said.
In addition to the goal-scorers and the net minding of Lauzon, Smith singled out defenders Tim Stephens, Jason Coil and Matt Kennel for praise, especially for their work in the first half, when the Storm were holding onto their two-goal lead.
Prior to Tuesday's final, Southridge defeated Chilliwack's High Road Academy 5-2 in semifinals. The South Surrey team earned a bye through the opening playoff round by virtue of their first-place finish in Fraser Valley regular-season play, where they had a perfect 4-0 record.
The back-to-back Fraser Valley banners were the first for Southridge's senior boys soccer team since the 2004-05 seasons.
At provincials, the Storm will be seeded third out of 16 teams, but will need to finish first in their pool to have a shot at the provincial title. The tournament is formatted in such a way that only the pool-winners have a shot to finish in the top-four overall.
"You basically have to win all your games, staring right from the first pool game," Smith said, adding that he expects West Vancouver's Mulgrave Titans to be the toughest opponent in Southridge's pool.
"I think there's probably five or six teams who have a chance to finish in that top four, but you just never know how these things are going to go.
"It'll be tough, but if we get a medal, that would be a big achievement."