The new high school soccer season got off to a good start with two young teams battling to an exciting finish.
The Vanier Spirits managed to hold off the Peacock Tornadoes for a 2-1 win Saturday morning at Smith Field in girls soccer action. On the road Central beat Estevan 9-0 and lost 5-1 to Weyburn.
Vanier grabbed a 2-0 lead before Peacock’s Jayme Hoffman scored on a second half penalty. Hoffman was stopped by Vanier goalkeeper in the final minutes and Alexis Abbott just missed picking out the corner on a late Tornadoes chance.
“I thought it was fun. It was exciting game,” said Peacock coach Tana Rowe.
“It’s a fun group and they all have a really good attitude. We’ve got some girls who were playing volleyball last year and they’re just eager to be out here.”
Vanier had three practices before the start of the season and only had seven players at once of those. Still, they looked surprisingly sharp and created a number of good chances with well-timed runs and good vision from their playmakers.
“It would be nice to have a few more bodies, For team stuff we worked on our shape and our system of play and I thought for our first game they did an excellent job of that,” said Vanier coach Jason Jones.
Jenna Coates scored late in the first half for Vanier and Kirah Brown found the top of the net with a long shot seconds into the second half.
Gabrielle Sanson hit the post late in the game as well for Vanier as the teams traded quality scoring chances in the final minutes.
“Boy did they do a nice job of getting the ball to the feet and then being able to turn and play through into spaces. The timing of the runs was very good,” said Jones. “Gabrielle made several good runs and Jenna Coates up top created good opportunities by receiving the ball at her feet and then being able to play the ball into the space and then out wide to our wingers too. I was very impressed for the first game.”
Peacock keeper Stacee Greensides made some good saves to keep her team in the game and she was aggressive in coming off of her line to break up chances as well.
Greensides was also a vocal leader of her young backline.
“Stacee played really well. It’s fun to watch her aggressiveness from Grade 9 and see her confidence come out. I told her that she had to take control back there and she said ‘OK I will,’” said Rowe.
“The (defenders) are all young. There’s my backline from last year,” added Rowe as she gestured to a group of recent graduates in street clothes who were talking to their former teammates after the game.
The Cyclones opened their season with a comfortable 9-0 win in Estevan. Magbeni Keita scored three goals, while Taylor Kell added two. Valerina Berisha, Erin Winterton, Courtney Shaw and Melissa Dorais also scored.
Saturday afternoon in Weyburn, the veteran-laden Eagles beat the Cyclones 5-1 after the Cyclones lost some players due to injury. Berisha scored the Central goal.
The season continues Tuesday when Vanier travels to Swift Current to play the defending league champions.