The senior soccer team's 5th place finish at the ISA Championships is not going to go down as one of the school's great historical sporting moments, but there were enough positive signs that Coach Lake came away from the weekend in a very optimistic frame of mind. In fact, the team was incredibly close to playing for a medal. A penalty-shot loss against West Point Grey on Saturday morning prevented the team from earning a berth in the bronze medal game.
In all their games, the Cavs demonstrated that they are capable of some great soccer. There were some defensive miscues that cost them dearly, but when the team built their attack from the back and kept the ball moving quickly along the ground, they looked good. Even more impressive for so early in the season was how their constant defensive pressure caused turnovers that led to terrific goals or goal-scoring opportunities.
The Cavs opened with a 2-0 win over Glen-Lyon Norfolk. Imraan Karmali scored the team's first goal of the tournament. Massimo Beltramo then scored to assure the victory.
In Game 2, the Cavs faced a very athletic Brentwood side. BCS were big, strong and fast and this caused some issues for Collingwood. However, when pressured the BCS players turned the ball over. After falling behind 1-0, Brent Anderson harassed a BCS defender who made a wayward pass. Sam Howard pounced on this and smashed the ball into the net to tie the game.
Collingwood's pressure defence created a number of second-half chances, but these opportunities were squandered. After just missing a great chance, the Cavs were caught out on a BCS counter-attack and this led to the winning goal.
On Saturday morning, the Cavs knew that a win over WPGA would mean a shot at the bronze. After falling behind 1-0, Aleem Karmali buried a shot off a goal-mouth scramble and the Cavs were right back in the game. Things were looking dire for Collingwood until Brent scored in the last minute of play to send the game to penalty shots. Sadly, Brent and Ollie White were the only Cavs to score in penalties so the Wolves advanced.
In their final game, the Cavs faced Aberdeen Hall from Kelowna. Collingwood was completely dominant for the entire game, but did not score until mid-way through the second half when Jack Mathisen scored a beauty on a thunderous blast from just outside the 18m box. He followed this up minutes later with another impressive strike. Casra Mohammedrezai finished off the scoring after some deft footwork allowed him to split two Aberdeen defenders whereby he slotted the ball cooly into the back of the net.
The Cavs now face St. Thomas Aquinas in their first league game on Thursday. Coach Lake is confident that the Cavs will use this weekend's tournament as a springboard to a great season in the tough North Shore league.
Kane Vidalin, Nick Jessel, Derek Punter, Adam Lewis and Jack Mathisen give the Cavs a veteran presence that is so needed in senior soccer.
Imraan Karmali and Massimo Beltramo were all smiles after scoring in the opening game of the ISA's.