As­cen­sion claims soc­cer ti­tle

School’s fe­male team wins first pro­vin­cial soc­cer ti­tle

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON arobin­son@cb­n­com­

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.

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