A Cavalier finish
Laval High captures AAA male soccer crown
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.”
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.