For the fourth time in their rich history and for the first time in eight years the South Delta Sun Devils have advanced to the gold medal game at the B.C. AAA Girls Soccer Championships.
The Sun Devils will play Richmond’s McMath Wildcats in Friday’s title match (11:30 a.m.) at the Cloverdale Athletic Park after a thrilling 2-1 semi-final overtime win over the Argyle Pipers on Thursday afternoon. South Delta last played for the provincial banner in 2014 and its lone championship came in 2008. This is the Tsawwassen school’s record-setting 19th consecutive trip to the 16-team showcase tournament.
Grade 12 Brianna Jassmann scored on a first half breakaway then added the game winner on a penalty kick in the first overtime period after a hand ball. The Sun Devils played with plenty of composure the rest of the way, ending an exhausting day on the sweltering turf that began with a 3-0 win over Kelowna to secure first place in their pool and the semi-final berth.
Argyle opened the scoring and could have increased its lead if not for a key early save from goalkeeper Lucy McCart. South Delta made some defensive adjustments to negate its North Shore opponent's dangerous transition play and had the better chances the rest of the way.
Tireless midfielder Gemma Dumas came ever-so-close to scoring on two second half chances, as did forward Kate McDonald.
“Lucy really stepped up big there and our players fed off of that,” said Sun Devils co-coach Stephen Burns. “We told them at halftime we’ve got 35 minutes to go and I know you are tired but they are more tired and you need to expose them at the back. You could see in overtime they were dropping deeper and deeper.”
Senior Teila Noble was outstanding in anchoring the South Delta backline for all 85 minutes.
The Devils opened the tournament on Wednesday with wins over Nanaimo (6-1) and host Salish.
McMath’s road to the final included a 3-0 win over top seed Centennial in the semi-finals. South Delta defeated the Steveston school 4-2 two weeks ago in the South Fraser playoffs.