North Island Secondary School (NISS) hosted the Senior Girls ‘A’ Island Soccer Championships on the weekend of May 13-14 in Port McNeill, and the hometown team came away with an excellent third place showing.
In their first game against the Duncan Christian School (DCS) on Friday, May 13, the NISS girls came out fired up to play in front of a large crowd cheering them on. They passed the ball well and it paid off with an early first half goal from a penalty kick to take a 1-0 lead. NISS continued to dominate in DCS’ zone, passing the ball around and getting the better chances on net.
In the second half, DCS managed to score an early breakaway goal to tie the game up, but NISS came firing back with a beautiful goal of their own, kicking the ball over the goalies head and into the left side of the net to take the lead back 2-1. NISS added two more goals before the second half ended, taking the tournament opener 4-1.
Coach Greg Muirhead felt they played “really well. They came out and played as a team and started the tournament off on a really good note. We also couldn’t have asked for a better turn out, the field was packed. I haven’t seen it like that before. The community was all out watching and cheering them on.”
NISS had a tough match up ahead of them in their second game on Friday afternoon, going head to head with the Glenlyon Norfolk School (GNS), who had travelled all the way from Victoria to play in the tournament, and they ended up losing the game 5-0. “I felt the girls played pretty good against GNS,” said Muirhead. “For several years now, GNS have placed first or second in the Province. They’re such a strong team. We held our own against them in the first half, and the second half we managed to hold them to only two goals.”
NISS’ next game was against St. Andrews school on Saturday morning. St. Andrews got out to a quick start, racking up five goals before NISS managed to finally kick one into the net before the second half whistle blew. Even though NISS lost 5-1, Muirhead felt the girls “played hard against St. Andrews. They’re just another strong squad. Their speed rivalled our speed, which is surprising as we have some really fast players. They got a couple beautiful goals on us, just unbelievable goals.”
With NISS’ next game against Queen Margaret’s School being for third place, the girls knew it was “a must win game, do or die,” said Muirhead. NISS came out strong right from the opening kick off, passing the ball well and scoring a nice goal from the side of the net to take the lead 1-0.
In the second half NISS continued to pressure offensively, scoring three more goals to finish off the tournament with a big 4-0 win over Queen Margaret’s School, decisively winning third place overall. “They came out pretty pumped and started the game with authority”, said Muirhead, adding that over the entire game, the girls “passing was phenomenal and their teamwork was great. They really jelled as a squad in their last game.”
Muirhead was feeling pretty optimistic about the NISS girls next season, stating that while they’re “gonna lose some seniors who are very solid players, we’ll still have a lot of depth. A lot of awesome young players are coming up through the system. We’re definitely gonna come out stronger next year and ready to go.”