Norsemen back in provincials

The North Island Secondary School girls soccer team last week earned its fifth straight trip to the provincial championships.

The North Island Secondary School girls soccer team earned its fifth straight trip to the provincial championships with a runner-up finish in last week’s Island A tournament in Duncan.

NISS swept through its pool round unbeaten to earn a berth in the final against provincial powerhouse Glenlyon Norfolk. Playing its third game in a seven-hour span, NISS fell 10-0 to Glenlyon, which outscored its opponents 33-0.

“We were the only team in the tournament that had to play three games in one day,” said Kathy Mitchell, who coaches the Norsemen along with Adrian Pendergast. “We had a discussion with the organizers about that.”

The May 13 final was also played in 24-degree heat, which didn’t seem to suit a North Island squad that opened the morning with a lopsided win over Gold River and followed with a 3-1 semifinal victory over host Duncan Christian at midday.

“The heat took its toll, no doubt,” Mitchell said of the 3:30 p.m. final.

The top two teams from the Island both advance to the 16-team provincial finals, set for May 29-31 at West Point Grey Academy in Vancouver.

NISS opened tourney play May 12 with a 4-2 win over local rival Port Hardy Secondary School, the team’s only game that day.

“It was a very, very good game and could have gone either way,” said Mitchell. “(The Whalers) hit a few posts and crossbars.” PHSS also faced Glenlyon Norfolk and fell 6-0 to the eventual champs before bowing out of contention.

Despite the rough ending, the tournament continued a half-decade run of success for the NISS girls program, which finished as provincial A runner-up in 2010.

“The more I’m talking to other coaches, the more I realize it’s a commitment to coming to practice,” Mitchell said of the team’s favourable finishes at Islands. “And we’ve got a great group of girls.”