Blues use memory of early loss as fuel for title triumph
A slap in the face at the start of the season in the form of a 2-0 loss seems to have been the impetus for sending the Kingston Blues seniors boys soccer team on the way to a championship.
Eli Westlake recalled that defining moment Thursday after the Blues edged the Ernestown Eagles 1-0 in the Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association final at Richardson Stadium.
“We lost our first game to an opponent [the Sydenham Golden Eagles] we should have beaten. Our team could have fallen apart right there,” Westlake said.
“We had a player meeting and talked about what we needed to do for the season. We came together after that and played well. We haven’t lost since.”
The Blues (7-1-1 including playoffs) finished off the run with the 1-0 win, courtesy of an early goal from Noah Frymire. That held up for the title, the first senior boys soccer title for the school since 2005.
The win also halted a storybook season for the underdog Eagles, who had never won a KASSAA soccer title.
“They are not satisfied, but they realize that is a good team and we almost did everything we could,” said Tom Pinkerton, who along with Andrew Papanicolaou, are the Ernestown coaches.
“It was an unfortunate result for us, but probably fair.”
Blues coach Dave Loken said the game plan was to try to score early to put the Eagles on their heels.
“We came up with a strategy of trying to put them under pressure and try to get an early goal and then open things up. The goal came faster than we expected,” Loken said.
“It was one of the best finals I’ve been in for a while. Back and forth. It was nice.”
The Blues didn’t lack for scoring chances to build their lead, but Eagles keeper Will Huyck was terrific in batting away scoring attempts.
“We had lots of chances. Their goalie did an amazing job saving,” Loken said.
“We had some chances. We weren’t just doing nothing on offence. Their goalie played amazing,” Zeke Wilson, one of the Blues strong backside defenders, said.
“He was standing on his head. I feel like it could have been 6-0, but also could be 1-1 just as easily.”
Blues keeper Alex Beamish, while not nearly as busy, did make a leaping dive to tip away a kick from Devin Clark that otherwise was going into the top left corner. That chance came midway through the first half.
Loken said the Blues depth may have been the difference.
“We could keep putting guys out there. Fresh legs helped maintain our lead,” said Loken, pointing also to that early-season lesson in the 2-0 loss to Sydenham.
“Team first. We’ve made that our motto. We did a great job playing as a team today.”
At Miklas-McCarney Field, the junior boys championship went into overtime after Holy Cross scored in the last minute to force overtime. After two 10-minute overtime periods, the La Salle Black Knights took the title, winning 5-4 on penalty kicks.
Ernestown Eagles keeper Will Huyck makes a save off a shot from Kingston Blues' Graeme Workman (8) in the first half of the Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior boys soccer final Thursday at Richardson Stadium. KC won the game, 1-0.