Perhaps the greatest compliment for the South Delta Sun Devils’ rich history at the B.C. AAA Girls Soccer Championships is they rarely underachieve. That was certainly the case once again last week at the Cloverdale Athletic Park.
The Sun Devils wrapped up their 18th consecutive appearance at the 16-team showcase event with a fifth place finish. After placing second in their pool group, they slipped past Sardis in penalty kicks then made the most of their scoring changes to double a talented Charles Best side 4-2 to close out the championships.
With Breanne Gallagher and Emily Birarda being the lone Grade 12s on the roster, longtime coaches Stephen Burns and Brent Sweeney were hopeful of a top eight finish from their young side. Yet there was the Devils challenging for their second straight appearance on the podium after winning bronze a year ago.
They opened with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Handsworth before dropping a 1-0 decision to eventual third place finisher McMath. A 2-0 win against Claremont to conclude round-robin play was only good enough for second in their group after McMath defeated Handsworth to finish at 3-0-0.
The McMath game was scoreless until the second half when South Delta seemed to run out of steam and the Wildcats produced the game’s only goal when they converted on a long ball counter.
“We were definitely on the throttle at the start but then we seemed to run out of energy. I think we just exhausted ourselves in the morning coming back in the Handsworth game the way we did. The second half was probably our best of the season,” said Burns.
“There are no excuses but the girls seemed spent (against McMath). They didn’t seem to have any energy left. We said we would be happy with a top eight finish but it’s tough when you are a goal away from going to penalty kicks to win your group.”
The Sun Devils roster also featured: Natalie Anderson, Campbell Brown,
Teila Noble, Laurel Weisbrod, Rachel Rosser, Jane McDonald, Antonia Otto, Ciana Dawydiuk-Cloza, Brianna Jassman, Sydney Solmundson, Kate McDonald, Johanna Kraus, Gemma Dumas, Riley Mathews, Julia Fechter, Anneke Cunningham, Taylor Katsube and Grace Grannary.