League1 BC Catch Up – Week 7: WOAHHH, WE’RE HALFWAY THERE
“Once upon a time, not so long ago
Unity scorin’ ’round the clock, the Rovers played alright
Rivers down on their luck, it’s rough, but Kamloops is tough
The Caps’ keep the scorers at bay, Juan De Fuca’s close
Will they win on BC, we’ll see, mmm, we’ll see.”
Ok, so, now that I have gotten that terrible rewrite of Bon Jovi’s classic ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ – because we are halfway through the season, and thus halfway there (don’t worry, I’ll see myself to the door) – let’s take a look back at the action that Week 7 brought us!
Double Derby Day
Both Point Grey and the Ironworkers Bridge saw a lot of League1 traffic this past Sunday as both Nautsa’mawt and Altitude FC travelled the 447m and 12km respectively to take on their rivals in the Whitecaps Academies and TSS Rovers. Going into this seventh week, both of the visiting men’s squads sat far away from what they saw as their goals for this point in the season as the Nausa’mawt men hover around the mid-table while the North Shore boys have comfortably sat at the bottom of the table for a few weeks now.
Luckily for both Jesse Symons’ girls and Mike Mosher’s boys, Nautsa’mawt were able to return home with points from both games. A First Half brace by the Whitecaps’ Kierra Blundell made it a scary time for the girls, but brilliance by Vanessa Tome and Mia Pante allowed for the Thunderbirds to take the ‘dub’ and maintain their undefeated streak this season.
The men’s game between the two Point Grey sides was donated by the two keepers as Ben Alexander recovered from his underwhelming performance last weekend to match the impressive skills of Bennett Mckay. Neither team were able to find the back of their opponent’s nets, leaving the game scoreless after ’90 with both teams walking away with a point.
As for the matchup of Altitude vs the Rovers, this derby – named in honour of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge and the 18 labourers who died during the bridge’s 1958 collapse – saw Altitude’s women further secure their spot in the post season while Faly Base’s men’s side once again struggled against the opposition. Mistakes by the d-line mixed with missed chances by the forwards became prime canon fodder for a strong TSS attack. These included the misplay above by Altitude keeper Trevor Schneider which resulted in an easy tap-in for Kyle Jones.
The 4-0 trampling by the Rovers marks the first time the Burnaby side has beaten Altitude’s men’s squad while also putting the rovers within one point of 1st in the league.
The Pain Continues For Rivers
It was yet another painful weekend for Kamloops’ League1 outfit. Currently last in the combined Juan De Fuca Plate race with only 8 points, head coaches John Antulov and Mark Pennington will be needing to regroup quick in face of two matches on Van Isle on the 16th and 17th.
Rivers’ men’s squad held onto their place in the standings this week – mainly due to Altitude’s loss to the Rovers – with their draw against the highlanders. Coquitlam native Elijah Dos Santos would end up playing the hero for his side as a ’90 minute goal would force the draw despite having given one up not 11 minutes earlier.
The women were more unlucky as they brought their loss-streak up to seven games. Going into half time, the girls were down by two in a scene all too reminiscent at this point in the season. An inspiring goal by Maddie Trozzo in the ’67 minute would spark life into the squad, but this would be squandered as the Highlanders’ Sophie Murphy netted the third in the last ten minutes of the match. Although the Rovers women’s side is not mathematically eliminated from post-season contention, it would require a major reversal of fortune by Mark Pennington’s squad and a run of bad luck to oversee the rest of the 7 clubs.
They say ‘what goes around, comes around’, and that could not be more true for Langley’s L1BC club, Unity FC, this past week. With two matches during Week 7, one on Sunday and one on Wednesday, their match-ups versus the Highlanders and the Whitecaps Academies respectively had both teams bring home points against Victoria but drop them in Point Grey.
For the men, a third-minute goal by Nick Fussell would be all that was needed to secure their victory over the Highlanders as the rest of 87 minutes of play would remain goalless. Yet when the club travelled up the Ken Woods Field to take on the Whitecaps Academy, the exact opposite would occur. 87 minutes of play would go by with no progress by either team to find the back of the next. But come the 88th minute, a beautiful free-kick taken would go off the head of Sydney Wathuta and into the back of the net, forcing Unity to go home empty-handed on the night.
Both of Unity’s women’s matches would see single-period hat-tricks but only one of them would go Unity’s way. Sophie Crowther’s first half hat-trick would leave the Highlanders with little hope going into the second 45-minute period, with what was left being quickly snatched away as Bryana Buttar, Elizabeth Hicks, and Mikayla Tupper all added to the tally. The six-nil showing by Unity would provide Langley-based L1 fans with their first girls home win of the season.
Unfortunately for Unity, although they would strike first in the ’29 to go up 1-nil over the ‘Caps Girls Elite squad, the Whitecaps would strike back with a vengeance. Beginning in the ’33 and carrying on until the ’75, the Whitecaps would find the back of Hannah Miller’s net six times, with Kierra Blundell accounting for three of those goals over a 28-minute stretch. Once Blunder buried her third, there was no coming back for the now-third place Unity with them going down 6-1 by the time the referee blew the final whistle.
Week 8 of L1BC action sees a total of five games happening across the province. The second-leg of the Ironworkers Derby will be kicking off at North Van’s Kinsmen Stadium as TSS look to rise in the combined standings to capture the JDF Plate. The two Rivers squads will enjoy a nice road trip on Vancouver Island as they travel to Nanaimo and Victoria to take on Harbourside and the Highlanders. Rounding out the weekend, Unity will host Nautsa’mawt in a Clash of Titans at Chase Office Field while the Rovers will take on the Whitecaps at home.