The South Delta Sun Devils take momentum into today's B.C. AAA Field Hockey Championships in Surrey after avenging a pair of regular season defeats to repeat as South Fraser champions.
With a roster that features just one Grade 12 player, it’s been a season of learning what it takes to compete against the top teams in the province. Their progress was evident at Tamanawis Park two weeks ago with a pair of impressive playoff performances.
The Sun Devils opened the tournament against Panorama Ridge — a team it had earlier squandered a three-goal lead against with just 10 available players. This time with a full complement of players and executing the game plan, it was a much different story.
South Delta neutralized Panorama’s top three players and made the most of their attacking opportunities in a convincing 5-1 victory.
That set the stage for the title game against host Tamanawis.
“They are tricky in that while they do not play a great ‘team’ game, if they enter the defensive circle they are very adept at scoring,” explained Sun Devils coach Neil McLennan of the final match-up. “Our goal was to limit their entries into our circle and not give up easy penalty corner chances.”
South Delta took a 1-0 lead into the second half. A terrific clearance by defender Taite Cantlon prevented the equalizer after a rocket shot got past goalkeeper Ineke ter Keurs. The Wildcats finally equalized on another corner opportunity.
That set the stage for the heroics of Paula Hassen — an international student who made her season debut with about 15 minutes to go after being unavailable due to an injury. She sent a cross into the front of the net that found the stick of Nina Dannhauser for the game-winning goal.
“It was quite a gratifying outcome as we had not played particularly well in our last couple of games so it was really nice to see the lessons we had been working at training being implemented on the field,” added McLennan. “The end result was a team that played a nice passing game with lots of movement. Defense was solid as well which had been one of our Achilles’ heel.”
The provincials wrap up on Friday with placement games.
The team also features: Grade 12- Alexis Kamiya. Grade 11- Georgia Roberts, Olivia de Albuquerque, Madeline Plante, Ashley Fincham, and Anna Sonnenberg. Grade 10 - Madeline Turner, Lili Weber, Teagan Alexander-Reid and Brooklyn Kuchma. Grade 9- Kassandra Sharpe. International student- Hannah Kocherscheidt.