Ascension claims soccer title
School’s female team wins first provincial soccer title
The members of the Ascension Collegiate Astros’ female soccer team are thrilled to have won the provincial AAA soccer championship in Gander. The title represents the first provincial victory for any Ascension soccer team, and it avenged a lost opportunity in the final of last year’s tournament.
The Ascension Collegiate Astros female team was victorious at the six-team provincial AAA soccer championships in Gander on Oct. 14-16.
“ The girls played awesome, both on and off the field,” said Lisa Penney, one of the team’s three coaches.
“ They were great ambassadors for our school, and in the championship game, they displayed great teamwork. It was an excellent tournament for us.”
In the Saturday afternoon championship match against the Mobile Monarchs, the Astros were leading 2-1 at the half thanks to a pair of goals by Kelsey Smith.
The team scored two more goals in the second half to hang on for a 4-2 victory, an extra impressive effort considering the Astros lost to the Monarchs earlier in the tournament.
The win was an historic one for the school’s soccer program, as it had never before won a provincial soccer banner.
The female team came close in 2009, making it to the championship game before losing to the Menihek High School team from Labrador City by a score of 2-0.
“ For sure, we were hoping to come home this year with a banner. We were hoping to go out and play well, and we certainly did,” said Penney. “ For some of the girls, I used to coach them when I was running the minor soccer program in Harbour Grace, so they’ve been playing for quite a while, and it was really wonderful to see that level of success for them.”
Trudy Pike and Mary Ann Sheehan joined Penney — in her second year as a coach for Ascension — on the team’s staff. The trio were coaching a group eager for success, with 12 of the 18 team members returning from last year.
In the Astros’ opening game, it faced the home team from Gander Collegiate. The Astros won the game 4-1.
It followed that victory with a loss to the Mobile Monarchs in a lopsided 5-1 affair.
The Bay Roberts team dealt with torrential rain and heavy winds in the semi-final game, and the tough weather made for a low-scoring match.
After 90 minutes, the Astros and Stephenville Spartans had both failed to find the net, and a further 20 minutes of play solved nothing.
In the shoot-out, Katie Harrington, Jaya Pham and Smith scored goals, while keeper Chelsee Bradbury stopped three of the five shots she faced to seal the win.
Kathryn Mercer and Jenna Pham also scored for Ascension during the tournament.
Smith was MVP for all four of the games the Astros played, and also received the team sportsmanship award. Smith’s co-captain, Andrea Neil, also performed well, according to Penney, who also singled out goalkeeper Bradbury and striker Mercer.
“All of our girls played well, of course,” said Penney, who is a physical education teacher at Ascension Collegiate.
The team planned to hold a rally this week, and with a little luck, Penney said the win may help the team secure some new jerseys for next season.
The win was also a fitting finish for Level III players. They included Smith, Neil, Emily Crummey, Terri Delaney, Katie Harrington, Hilary Mercer, and Jessica Wheaton.
Despite losing all those players, Penney said the team will remain competitive in 2011.
“ We’re looking forward to another great performance next year.”
Submitted photo The Ascension Collegiate Astros took a banner home from the 2010 provincial AAA soccer championships in Gander. Team members include: Front (l-r) — Andrea Neil (captain), Kathryn Mercer, Kelly Mercer, Chelsee Bradbury, Shara Hodder, Jaya Pham, Trudy Pike (coach); back — Mary Ann Sheehan (coach), Chelsea Porter, Jessica Wheaton, Kristen Coombs, Kristen Downey, Jenna Pham, Holly Bartlett, Kelsey Smith (captain), Emily Crummey, Hilary Mercer, Terri Delaney, Katie Harrington, Carly Norman, Lisa Penney (coach).
Submitted photo Kelsey Smith (No. 16) sends a pass to teammate Hilary Mercer during the Ascension Collegiate Astros’ championship match-up against the Mobile Monarchs at the provincial AAA soccer championships. The Astros won the game 4-2 to claim the banner.
Lisa Penney is coach of the Ascension Collegiate Astros female soccer team.