Astros head­ing to provin­cials

Boys soc­cer team win re­gional play­downs

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

The As­cen­sion Col­le­giate male soc­cer team will be trav­el­ling to the AAA pro­vin­cial tour­na­ment this weekend in Springdale.

The Astros earned the right to con­tend for a pro­vin­cial ban­ner by de­feat­ing Laval High of Pla­cen­tia 21 in the cham­pi­onship game of the re­gional play­downs in a dra­matic and ex­cit­ing match.

The pro­vin­cial tour­na­ment will be hosted by In­dian River High on Oct. 2-4. Also par­tic­i­pat­ing in the tour­na­ment will be St. Lawrence Academy, Stephenville High, Meni­hek High School in Labrador City and Ex­ploits Val­ley High in Grand Falls-Wind­sor.

The Astros dom­i­nated the com­pe­ti­tion at re­gional play, outscor­ing op­po­nents 13-4.

Head coach Richard Mar­shall said the cham­pi­onship game was a tight one. “They did well,” he said. Laval took an early 1-0 lead half­way through the first half. How­ever, in the 30th minute, Astros player Willy Hayes evened up the score.

It would re­main 1-1 for the rest of reg­u­la­tion.

In ex­tra time, Hayes again was the dif­fer­ence, notch­ing the win­ning goal five min­utes into the first over­time pe­riod.

Keeper Josh Bar­rett also had a hand in the vic­tory, notch­ing sev­eral key saves at op­por­tune times.

Head­ing into the tour­na­ment, Mar­shall said the team did not have a lot of prac­tice time. This was off­set by the team’s over­all ath­letic abil­ity, said Mar­shall.

“There are some strong ath­letes on the team, and a lot of mul­ti­sport play­ers,” he said. “They’re eas­ily coach­able.”

The Astros kicked off the tour­na­ment with a con­vinc­ing 4-0 vic­tory over Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate.

The team fol­lowed that up with a 9-0 thump­ing of Cres­cent Col­le­giate, lo­cated in Blake­town, be­fore drop­ping the round-robin fi­nale to Laval 3-2.

“It felt good to see all of the hard work pay off,” Hayes said of win­ning the re­gional ban­ner.

Head­ing to provin­cials

Mar­shall ex­pects his squad to be “com­pet­i­tive against any team.”

“We have a lot of se­niors on our team, and quite frankly, it is their last op­por­tu­nity to do well,” he said. “They should have the ma­tu­rity, the size and the strength to do as well as pos­si­ble.”

Mar­shall has pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onship ex­pe­ri­ence. Orig­i­nally from Burin, he cap­tured a pro­vin­cial soc­cer cham­pi­onship in 1994 with Fa­ther Ber­ney Me­mo­rial High School in Burin. Mar­shall also has Chal­lenge Cup ex­pe­ri­ence.

The trip to Springdale will be the sec­ond straight trip to provin­cials for the team. At last year’s event, the team cap­tured the sports­man­ship award.

Fa­mil­iar­ity breeds win­ning

Many of the play­ers with the As­cen­sion team have played to­gether for the ma­jor­ity of their ca­reers.

They are a part of the Con­cep­tion Bay North Light­ning soc­cer club.

“It was a proud mo­ment for the CBN Light­ning be­cause this is the first group of boys we brought through our sys­tem over the past eight years,” said Light­ning pres­i­dent Robert Tarrant.

This fa­mil­iar­ity has ob­vi­ously had a pos­i­tive im­pact on the Astros team.

“A few of us have been play­ing to­gether since Level I, and it felt good to beat (Laval) this year,” said Hayes.

Sub­mit­ted photo

The As­cen­sion Col­le­giate Astros boys’ soc­cer team re­cently won the AAA re­gional play­downs. The Astros beat Laval High of Pla­cen­tia 2-1 in the cham­pi­onship game to earn a ticket to the pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onships in Springdale on Oct. 2-4. Mem­bers of the team are: front (l-r) — Brady Power, Adam Oates, Willy Hayes, Josh Bar­rett, Tay­lor Nor­man, Michael King and Brent Kenny; back — Pa­trick Tarrant, Kyle Vokey, Bran­don Mo­ri­ar­ity, Bradley Riggs, Michael Power, Lu­cas Roberts, Evan Oates and Kyle Cronin. Miss­ing from photo is coach Richard Mar­shall.

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