Smithers Secondary School’s senior boys soccer team battled back from some early losses to finish the Provincial AA Championships with a record of two wins and three losses. The team had a great time competing in Burnaby, and gained a new experience playing on artificial turf.
The tournament started with a round robin against three other teams. After three weeks where snowy fields restricted practice to the gym plus a 16 hour bus ride, the team was a step slow. The team kept its shape, and there were some strong games from the defenders, but Smithers lost its three round robin games 3-0 against Burnaby, 4-1 against Fraser Valley and 2-0 against Kamloops.
The three round robin losses resulted in the team playing in the lower section of the knock-out portion of the tournament. The first knock-out game for Smithers was against Golden. Despite Smithers dominating the play and having the majority of the chances, regular time and 15 minutes of overtime left both teams scoreless. The game was decided by penalty kicks, with goals by Silvio Luther, Gabriel Price and Jeff Kalina, and saves by goal keeper Will Davis resulting in a well-deserved win for Smithers. A highlight of the game was a sliding goal line stop by Smithers defenseman Owen Ehalt.
The final game was an unofficial northern high school championship, against DP Todd of Prince George. Like the previous game, Smithers dominated play and had the majority of the chances. This time, one of the chances was converted. Eric Faion, who suffered various scrapes and sprains earlier in the tournament was first to reach a cross from Gareth Doyle and headed in the winning goal to secure a 1-0 Smithers victory. Throughout the tournament, the strongest part of the Smithers team was the play of Jeff Kalina, whose tackling and powerful headers enabled the relatively young Smithers team hold its own.
The team would like to thank McBike, Oscar’s, Nature’s Pantry, BV Credit Union and High School PAC for logistical support and coach Bill Holdyk for masterminding our earlier zone victory against Caledonia, making participation in the provincial championships possible.
-Submitted by Bill Price