A Cava­lier fin­ish

Laval High cap­tures AAA male soc­cer crown

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

A pro­vin­cial ti­tle should be de­cided in a close game.

No­body wants to see a ti­tle game end in a lop­sided two or three goal vic­tory mar­gin. They want riv­et­ing ac­tion and enough drama to cause heart pal­pi­ta­tions. Ev­ery play should mean some­thing and ev­ery player should crave to be in the sit­u­a­tion.

Fans look­ing for ex­actly that would’ve had a grand time in Pla­cen­tia on Oct. 17, where the fi­nal of the pro­vin­cial AAA male soc­cer tour­na­ment was held.

The home­town Laval Cava­liers and the Mobile High Mon­archs squared off in what is sure to be a game that’ll live through the ages.

It took reg­u­la­tion time, a pair of over­time pe­ri­ods and penalty kicks to de­cide the win­ner.

“The game it­self was a great game,” said Laval coach Gord Pike.

The Mon­archs got on the board first in­side the first 20 min­utes of the con­test. The rest of the game was a bat­tle of en­durance.

The Cava­liers had their chances and kept Mobile on their heels.

“Af­ter they scored, we just pres­sured and pres­sured,” Pike told The Com­pass. “De­fen­sively, we were strong, but we were putting pres­sure on the op­po­si­tion. That was out strat­egy, to put to­tal pres­sure.”

Through reg­u­la­tion time, the Mon­archs clung to their nar­row one-goal lead. How­ever as the game moved to in­jury time, Laval got on the board when a ball off the foot of Kolton Green hit the back of the net. The bench ex­ploded as the Cava­liers tied the game and sent it to over­time.

“We had cor­ner (kick) af­ter cor­ner and fi­nally the ball went in,” said Pike. “Set­tling them down af­ter was the key. Our fans were into it and their fans were into it. It was a great at­mos­phere.

“It was a very ex­cit­ing soc­cer game.”

Af­ter two rounds of over­time, the game went to penalty kicks and even that needed ex­tra kick­ers. Through five rounds, the teams had yet to crack the duel­ing walls put up by the goal­tenders.

In the sixth round af­ter the Laval keeper stopped the Monarch’s shooter, Michael Nash stepped up and put Laval ahead with a clutch strike. There was im­me­di­ate jubilation as

“The play­ers were ec­static. The boys lost it,” said Pike. “It was an in­tense game.” Help­ing them­selves The Cava­liers berth in the fi­nals came down to the fi­nal round robin game and they needed to help them­selves.

They needed to either tie or de­feat Mobile if they wanted to force a sec­ond matchup with the Mon­archs. For­tu­nately for them, they got it.

Both teams fin­ished with a 00 tie.

Laval started the tour­na­ment with a 1-0 de­feat at the hands of In­dian River High from Spring- dale. That was fol­lowed by a 1-0 vic­tory over St. Lawrence, which set up the game with Mobile.

“There were four teams in the tour­na­ment and they were all even,” said Pike. “We were very lucky to make the fi­nal.”

Short sea­son, big com­mit­ments

The sea­sonal win­dow for out­door soc­cer as a part of school sports is a short one in this prov­ince. In a mat­ter of a cou­ple of weeks, teams are picked and re­gion­als are played.

That doesn’t give a whole lot of time for de­vel­op­ment and in­stalling sys­tems. So, it helps when the play­ers have pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence in the sport.

“It all de­pends on what you have,” said Pike. “You have to size it up and see what you have. It takes a lot of com­mit­ment and this was one of the best groups.

“They were just an en­thu­si­as­tic group and they worked liked dogs.”

The Laval team is com­prised of a num­ber of se­nior play­ers — eight to be ex­act. They se­cured a pro­vin­cial ban­ner on home soil. For a week­end, they lived the dream.

Years from now when they meet up, they’ll al­ways be able to share sto­ries about the penalty kicks and win­ning a ban­ner at home. They’ll have that con­nec­tion.

“In your fi­nal year, you want to leave your mark,” said Pike. “It’s a con­nec­tion for me too. That’s al­ways nice.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The Laval Cava­liers male soc­cer team brought home the AAA pro­vin­cial ban­ner with a 2-1 vic­tory in ex­tra kicks over the Mobile High Mon­archs in Pla­cen­tia on Oct. 17. Shown here are: front (l-r) — Larry Brewer, Wil­liam Neville, Tay­lor Hann, Joel Nash and Michael Leonard-Power; back — coach Martin Young, Paul Bavis, James Cul­leton, Justin Edi­son, Kolton Green, Jor­dan Roche, An­drew Kelly, Michael Nash, Zach Young, Liam Shea, Jor­dan Pomeroy and coach Gord Pike.

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