The L.V. Rogers Bombers girls soccer team traveled to the BC AA Provincials last week, returning home with the program’s best finish in 15 years.
The Bombers came up just short of a bronze medal against powerful AA schools in the Courtney-hosted tournament, but managed to garner the respect of other schools around the province.
“The coaching staff is extremely proud of all the players,” said Bombers coach Dave Spendlove. “The improvement over the last few years has made the team a strong contender for years to come showing all the teams from all around BC what Nelson can do.”
The Bombers started the tournament on Thursday against Qualicum’s Ballenas Secondary, the number-two ranked team on Vancouver Island.
“The girls basically put on a possession soccer clinic and strolled to a 3-1 victory,” said Spendlove. “The midfield trio of Paige Mansveld, Abby Willans and Erica Augsten controlled the game and the defensive trio of Calena Marchand, Tara Yowek and Jena Wheeldon made sure of a convincing victory.”
Senior Brynn Forsey scored a pair of goals and Mansvled added the single in the victory.
The second game of Thursday was against Princess Margaret High School from Penticton, a team Spendlove said was one of the strongest in the 16-team provincial field.
“Princess Margaret had done their homework and closed down our midfield in the first half and dominated play,” said Spendlove.
The teams were knotted at zeroes after the first half, but LVR suffered a big blow when leading goal scorer Darian Voisard rolled her ankle and was out for the remainder of the tournament.
Despite a great game by goaltender Kat Garbula and strong performances from Jesse Cooper, Aroha Talantini and Keegan Patterson, the Bombers lost 1-0.
Needing a win Friday morning to make it to the medal round, the Bombers took on Abbotsford Traditional Secondary School. Though LVR controlled the game throughout, it wasn’t until a Mansveld goal with two minutes remaining that the 1-0 victory was secured.
The coaching staff singled out Grade 9 standouts Kyra Burkart and Naomi Perkins as “causing all kinds of trouble for Abbotsford on the wings” and helping secure the victory.
In the semi-final, the Bombers were matched up against the pre-tournament favourite Burnsview Secondary out of Delta. Spendlove said the Bombers were outworked on the way to a 3-1 loss.
The bronze medal game featured a match against the Nanaimo District Secondary School.
“It was a very hard fought game with both teams getting chances, but NDSS converted theirs and we didn’t,” said Spendlove.
Though the score was tied at 0-0 after the first half, the Bombers eventually ran out of gas and lost 3-0.
“It was a great three days of quality soccer played by the Nelson girls,” said Spendlove. “They gained plaudits from all the other school coaches and event organizers on their skill and possession game.”
The final game marked the end of high school careers for graduating players Garbula, Mansveld, Forsey and Bekka Schrader. Mansveld was selected to the Commissioners 11 tournament all-star team, “a fitting end to a great high school playing career for a true team leader.”