South Delta Sun Devils will be looking to make the most of home field advantage when the 2016 B.C. AAA Girls Soccer Championships kickoff Thursday in Tsawwassen.
The 16-team event will take place on four fields - SDSS Oval, South Park, Peeble Hill and the Winskill Turf. The SDSS Oval will be the featured venue with a main concession and a SoccerCity store. It will also host two semi-final games Friday (12:45 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.) as well as the medal games Saturday - 10 a.m. (bronze) and gold (12:15 p.m.).
The Sun Devils are coming off an impressive fifth place finish at the highly-competitive Fraser Valley Championships to earn their record 15th straight provincial tournament berth. South Delta won four of five games during the Valley playoffs, including a pair of must-win scenarios after a 3-2 quarter-final loss.
The hosts open pool play Thursday (11 a.m.) against Centennial and also face Argyle at 2:45 p.m. Both games take place at the SDSS Oval. The Devils will close out preliminary play Friday 9 a.m. against Cranbrook's Mt. Baker. Only the first place team in each of the four pool groups remains in championship contention - advancing directly to Friday afternoon's semi-final.
Centennial finished fourth at the Valley Championships, while Argyle is No. 4 in the most recent provincial rankings.
Other pre-tournament favourites include No. 1 Oak Bay, Fraser Valley champion Fleetwood Park, Elgin Park and Richmond's McMath Wildcats.
It will be a hectic three-days for South Delta co-coach Stephen Burns, who not only has organizational duties but is also coaching McMath for the third-straight year. The Richmond resident's daughter Ali is the team's starting goalkeeper.
The Wildcats head to Tsawwassen unbeaten in regular season and the playoffs - defeating Kitsilano 3-0 to win their zone championship.
The four tournament pool groups are as follows: Pool "A": McMath, Handsworth, Sardis, Reynolds.
Pool "B": Elgin Park, South Kamloops, Charles Best, Correlieu.
Pool "C": Argyle, Centennial, South Delta, Mt. Baker.
Pool "D": Fleetwood Park, Oak Bay, Kitsilano, WJ Mouat.