League1 BC Catch Up – Week 3: Rovers Return and Falling Altitudes
Once again, League1 BC has shown that the country’s second-largest province boasts some of the best young talent this nation has to offer, and although only three double-headers were played, they pulled no punches.
As we enter this fourth weekend of action starting on Friday, six teams remain undefeated, though some of those records are more impressive than others. Let’s recap what happened last week in L1BC action.
Stayin’ Cool Under The Sun
While the climate crisis is real, the rising temperatures aren’t affecting these Whitecaps – and it was a scorcher this past weekend in BC. The WFC Girls Elite and the Whitecaps FC U-19 Academy have both come out of the gates strong and have yet to concede an L this campaign, and this trend continued at home last Friday.
Taking on their mountainous rivals, Altitude FC, both games featured six goals apiece, however neither went in the favour of the visiting Altitude. In both the men’s and women’s matches, the visitors got the first laugh within the first 20 minutes, but they would ultimately both be victories for the Whitecaps. The WFC Elite took a 5-1 ‘dub with a brace by Mya Archibald while the men’s game came a bit closer at 4-2, though would be dominated by Michael Hennessy and his hat-trick, one which included this beautiful free kick.
One Heart, One Mind, One Loss
Nautsa’mawt FC were handed a torch by their predecessors Varsity FC as the strongest team in L1BC and they have carried it loudly and proudly into 2023. Between their eight combined games, Point Gray’s club has a single loss which came at the hands of the Harbourside men’s squad last week. This week they did not disappoint, taking home all six available points.
The men’s game would start with a bang and end with a bang, as a rush by former Electric City FC man Ethan Gopaul from just past the halfway point led to a chance by Daniel Kaiser. While Kaiser’s initial shot was saved by the Rivers keeper, Gopaul easily headed in the rebound to put his side ahead 1-nil.
After this fifth-minute goal by the visitors, the Rivers d-line was not the same for the rest of the match but still held back Nautsa’mawt for 76 minutes. In the 80th a defensive error by Marco Favoro allowed Gopaul to sweep up a dangerous ball, passing it for teammate Connor Robillard to tuck it home, sealing the two-nil victory.
The women’s game would prove to be the more event-filled match-up of this double-header with ten balls finding their way into the back of the net. The first half would be all Nautsa’mawt as Tome, Rasoul, Baxter, and Rasoul again all found success against keeper Cara Santaga. Three more of their teammates would go on to bury goals to up their total to seven, though not before Rivers would strike back three of their own including two in the last four minute of regulation time. Unfortunately for the hosts, it would not be enough as a ’92 goal by Bailey Doerksen would make it 7-3 on a touch which I am sure Santaga is dying to have back.
Back At Home, Back In Form
The TSS Rovers return home this week from Starlight Stadium after a disappointing yet inspiring performance in the Canadian Championship last week which saw them go down 2-0 to Pacific FC. After bowing out from the Voyageurs Cup, Will Cromack’s men had to turn their attention back to league play as the reigning L1BC champs entered week three with a single point to their name.
They did not disappoint the home crowd at Swangard Stadium upon their return against Harbourside FC.
2022’s Golden Boot winner, Erik Edwardson, would open the scoring as a chip in by Ivan Meija would tee-up the perfect header to slot past Callum Weir. Edwardson would then suddenly begin collecting headwear as two follow-up goals at the ’67 and ’84 marks would net him a hat-trick, later to be complimented by captain Matteo Polisi who capitalized off of a Harbourside error in the goal area.
The women’s match would be a closer affair, nearly ending in a draw. From the ’32 to the ’67, it would be a tit-for-tat game between the two sides with TSS striking first followed by Harbourside. Rinse, repeat. This would mark a stark contrast to the rest of Harbourside’s women’s games as their record coming to Swangard was 0W-0D-3L, but ultimately, they would improve that record with a win on Saturday. A wide open Shea Battie took a chance against Rovers keeper Mae Hobenshield with her initial save going right to the head of substitute Maddy Dawson who scores the first game-winning goal in club history.
Coming Up In L1BC
The upcoming slate of games sees a departure from our regularly-scheduled programming as a slew of matches over the May 2-4 long weekend are accompanied by a midweek kickoff.
Starting on Friday the 19th, the Victoria Highlanders return to the pitch after a bye-week by travelling up Van Isle to take on Harbourside at Q’unq’inuqwstuxw Stadium (pronounced ki-KIN-ish-took). This will be followed on Saturday by Unity’s return to play as they face off on the road against Burnaby’s Rovers.
Sunday sees Altitude host both Rivers FC and the L1BC Featured Match of the week at Kinsmen Field. Faly Basse’s men’s side will be fighting for redemption after having fallen to the bottom of the table while the Altitude women’s squad jostle for position in the mid table.
The holiday Monday will grace fans at UBC with some footy as Unity take the Highway 1A to Thunderbird Stadium to meet the Juan De Luca Plate leaders Nautsa’mawt FC. A win for either Unity squad will see them rise in to second place in their divisions.
Finally, rounding out this slate has the Whitecaps academies taking the ferry to Nanaimo with two of the three teams tied for first place in the men’s division facing off. Harbourside’s hopes rest on a strong showing by their attack against two Whitecaps sides with positive goal differentials.
Be sure to catch the action live from Kinsmen Field on the League1 BC Youtube channel and on Telus Optik TV while other select matches will be streamed onto the former platform as well, including Saturday’s Rovers v Unity match.