The North Island Secondary School (NISS) senior girls soccer team is going to Provincials.
19 NISS players travelled down island to Victoria to compete at the Islands on May 12-13, where they ended up playing four games total over the weekend.
“Our first game was against Queen Margarets, based out of Duncan, and we beat them 3-1. It was pretty evenly matched,” said NISS coach Greg Muirhead.
NISS grade 12 student Mercedes Trevor scored the opening goal. Trevor said she felt it took the team “a little bit of time to get going, but once we got into it, it was a steady build from there. We definitely had possession the majority of the game and played pretty solid.”
After building some momentum against Queen Margarets, NISS played their second match against St. Andrews, which they lost 6-3.
“The score doesn’t accurately reflect the game,” said Muirhead. “We let a couple unfortunate goals in and it was a competitive loss. We underestimated their speed and they potted a couple really nice goals on us.”
NISS rebounded in their third match against Duncan Christian school, hammering them 8-0.
“It was a little bit more of a low-key game, it wasn’t really too challenging,” said NISS goalkeeper Molly Lash-Burrows.
NISS player Sidney Nelson agreed, saying the game was a good warmup. “We were able to slow it down and just work on our passing.”
“The girls had possession for 40 minutes of the 60 minute game, they played really strong,” added Muirhead.
On Saturday afternoon, NISS had a rematch against St. Andrews in the championship final, where they won a razor close game 1-0.
“Emma Mitchell got the goal for us from a beautiful setup from Randi Ward and Heather Mackenzie,” said Muirhead, who added it was “a very tight game, definitely a hard fought possession controlled game. Emma scored about midway through the first half, at which point our defence collectively stepped up and our mids came back a lot and played a strong game.”
Lash-Burrows said when she heard the ref tell them there was under five minutes left, “we just kept it up and tried to finish strong. I was really glad we were able to hold it together.”
After the whistle blew, NISS stormed the field. “They celebrated, they cheered,” said Muirhead, who added he was ecstatic about how well the girls played.
“They started their fitness in early spring and it really shone through. Their hard work and dedication to practice has paid off so far and I’m excited to see what they’re going to do at provincials.”
Muirhead added the team is “going in with the mindset that we can beat every team there.”
Provincials is held in Kelowna this year. Keep reading the Gazette for more on the NISS girls success.