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SG Soccer vs Richmond - ETIAC Semi-Final

By Erik Van Dyke, Senior Girls Soccer Coach
I tell ya, I did NOT see that coming. After a dispirited warmup – even by our low standards! – your Banniere Championnes Spartans refused to look past our opponents, ignored the late ref, and shook off the cold to produce hands down the best team performance of the season.
There is so much that I’m happy about this game that I don’t know if I can possibly pick a favourite moment/memory:
Maybe it’s Joliane scoring a game-opening hat trick in less time than it takes Lisa to put on her shoes?
Or maybe it was Maya winning first touch on what felt like 20 booming goalie punts in a row, without
misjudging a single one? And when did she start throwing the ball 25 yards on throw-ins?!
I know, it was Siena’s clinical sharp angle finish flying in from the left side; no more “choppin’ wood for that birthday girl.
Hmmm, actually, there’s a case to be made for Camryn effectively taking Richmond’s top striker almost
completely out of the game. Going 1 v 1 vs Camryn is about as fun for opposing strikers as going to
the dentist for all four wisdom teeth at once. AND a colonoscopy.
Although, I really liked the communication between Maddie and her defenders, working together to help
Maddie come off her line even quicker than she normally does.
Or perhaps it was this week’s winner of the Elon Musk Rocket of the Game Award, a patented cruise
missile goal from Lisa from - where else? - outside the box that had the senior boys in the crowd wishing she was on their roster.
Nope, I have it: it was the fact that we had our first tie for Quote of the Game:  If Erica scores, I think I’m gonna cry” – Siena; “Yupidoo!” – Joliane (is that Quebecois for Yabba Dabba Doo?)
Actually, in all seriousness, it had to be the passing and construction of play, starting from our defence,
working through the midfield, and ending with threatening runs from the strikers and continuous pressure on the Raiders defence; we have NEVER built up from the back like we did today, it was bee-yoo-ti-ful to see. Maybe LCC rubbed off on us a little?
Nope, changed my mind, but I promise for the last time; my favourite memory from this game will be the
fact that three (3!) players had the best game of their lives all at the same time:
  1. Ariela Boltvinik, who combined her usual Energizer Bunny work ethic with impeccable positioning – when the ball keeps finding you, it means you’re in the right place!
  2. Victoria Fernandez, who has always had a knack for being in the right spot, but who today played with the most poise (no panic), power (cutting opponents off with lower body strength) and purpose (eyes up, always with a plan) I’ve ever seen from her.
  3. Player of the Game Erika Roy, whose first touch was tight, who figured out how to shield the ball when you’re 95 lbs soaking wet, and who made great plays and smart decisions all game long. Her first half turn on a Richmond defender was going to be my Highlight of the Night , until Erika outdid herself with 10 minutes left in the game with the first goal of her life on a deft touch and foray up the left side followed by the old lollipop-over-the-keeper. This team has NEVER this season been happier for a goal – even this old coach was fist-pumping on the sidelines!
Final score 7-1, fans and parents impressed, smiles all around, and the fun doesn’t even stop there. Because winning this game earns your Stanstead College Spartans a berth in the ETIAC Finals this Wednesday. At home. Against Alexander Galt (who we tied in our only meeting earlier this season). For the Playoff Trophy.
For all the marbles. Last game of the season.
If it’s anything like this game, I like our chances.
Coaches Van Dyke & Kirby