The Smithers Secondary boys’ soccer team dropped their zone tournament after a nail-biting overtime loss against their Terrace rivals last weekend.
The Gryphons played back-to-back games against Caledonia Senior Secondary on Saturday; the first game ended with a one all draw while the second game went into overtime, with Caledonia getting the win 2-0.
“I thought both teams played very well. They played tough soccer over two games back-to-back and neither team left anything out on the field and Terrace ended up on top,” said Chris Howard, one of the coaches of the Gryphons. “Our guys represented themselves and our school very well.”
In the first game, junior Grant Hooper opened the scoring for Smithers Secondary early in the first half.
“Terrace had possession and they went to go cross the front of the net. One of the players missed the ball and I had an open shot and took it,” said Hooper, a mid-winger. “I think I played good for my first year of high school soccer.”
The Gryponns held the lead for most of the game, but Caledonia fought back and evened it up with just a few minutes left in the second half.
In the second, sudden death game, the two teams went scoreless, resulting in 10 minutes of overtime play.
“Lots of pressure from our strikers Austin Ryan and tremendous defence by Glyn Doyle and Dylan Delany,” said Howard, adding that Stefan Bichlmaier also had a good game.
In overtime, it was Caledonia to strike first, finding the back of the net on a shot from a weird angle.
With less than two minutes left, Caledonia sealed the deal with another goal on a breakaway.
“Our guys still never quit. They kept coming at Terrace right down to the last of it. Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way,” said Howard. “They defended very well. They defended as a team and they all supported each other and they never stopped playing hard.”
Delany was named the Gryphons’ MVP, while Doyle took home the best defensive player of the tournament.
“I haven’t played this position before this year. It was something new for me and I felt like I did well,” said Doyle. “Terrace has a very skilled team. We worked hard, but they deserved it in the end.”
Terrace will head to provincials, but for the Gryphons, the tournament marks the end of the season.
“We’ve got probably about five graduating players and then we have a good young squad of mostly guys who are going into grade 10 and 11 next year, so I expect a very strong team next year,” said Howard.