The Port Hardy Secondary School (PHSS) Seniors Girls soccer team is going to provincials.
“The girls gave it their all and played excellent throughout the entire Island Championships” said coach Jim Clair.
The PHSS girls travelled to Duncan to play in the tournament where their first match was against Duncan Christian School, which they ended up winning 6-1.
Their next match was against Glenlyon Norfolk (ranked number one) and they lost a close game 5-4.
The girls moved on to play in the semi-final the next morning against St. Andrews (ranked number two on the island).
The match against St. Andrews was back and forth with each team having their scoring chances, but it ended in regulation time tied 1-1.
The team had a five minute break where coach Jim Buchan fired the girls up with a motivational speech before the start of the 15 minute overtime.
“I spoke to them and said ‘look, what do you want to get out of this’,” said Buchan, adding he asked them “if they wanted to go the next step by moving on to Penticton and give themselves justice. It’s all about belief, and if you can play and work as a team, you’ve always got that opportunity to get the desired result.”
The girls knew with a win they would move on to the tournament final, but more importantly, they would qualify for provincials.
Feeling more motivated than ever, the girls dug down deep as a team and found the energy to come out flying at the sound of the first whistle, scoring two quick goals and winning in extra time 3-1.
“At the final whistle, the girls erupted with joy knowing they had done something the PHSS girls’ soccer team had never done before by advancing to provincials,” said Clair.
With the final match of the tournament still left, once again the girls faced off against Glenlyon Norfolk, this time for first place.
It turned out to be another close match, but the girls came up short by a goal and lost 4-3.
PHSS was the only team to score any goals against Glenlyon Norfolk throughout the entire tournament.
Coming in second place meant the team would be going to compete in the BC Single A High School Provincials in Penticton, from May 31 to June 3rd.
Leanne Wilson, a grade 11 PHSS student who plays defence for the team, said she’s most looking forward to getting to travel with her teammates and play in the tournament.
Grade 10 PHSS student Hailey Ranger said “It feels great knowing our team has done so much to get where we are today, and it really means a lot to all of us.”
Ranger added she’s mostly looking forward to travelling and seeing how they play against some tough competition.
When asked if he thinks the girls will win, Buchan said he just wants the students to go and represent the school well. “If they leave everything out on the field, then what else can you ask for? If they do that, then they will be able to leave with their heads held high.”
– with files from Jim Clair