They may have won the senior championship, but the Immaculata Mustangs have some plucky juniors to thank for the victory.
Immaculata won the B.C. single-A high school senior girls soccer title last week in Nakusp with a 2-1 extra-time victory over Southridge Secondary of Surrey.
After going 3-0 in the round robin, the stage was set for the final against Southridge.
Southridge was first on the scoreboard, but the Mustangs responded with a goal from veteran Kyra Donick.
They battled through the second half and nearly two full halves of extra time; however, with three minutes until penalty kicks, eighth grader Ella Krete stole the ball, sent it up to Trinity McCoy, who found Anna Hopley on the left side.
Hopley placed a diagonal ball behind the Southridge back four, where eighth grader Taylor Melnyk ran onto it and fired it into the back of the net.
After a few tense moments, the final whistle blew, leaving the Mustangs with a 2-1 victory in a memorable final.
The Mustangs beat Fort St. James, Clearwater and Grand Forks in the round robin. Grade 10 Flora Watt scored the only goal of the game with a penalty kick in the 49th minute to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead in the semifinal against Credo Christian.
A late-game tackle from center back Antonella Feeny secured the victory.
Donick, with six goals and a relentless effort on both sides of the ball, was named tournament MVP. The Commissioner’s Award for leadership and commitment to the soccer program was awarded to Watt, who lead the team on and off the field all season long.
Goalkeeper Samantha Cruickshank and the Immaculata defence allowed just two goals between the Valley championships and provincials.
Graduating players include captain Antonella Feeny, Mikayla Holroyd, Savannah Clarkson and Piper Barta. Ella Krete will also be leaving the team to head to Vancouver where she will join the REX Program affiliated with the Whitecaps organization.
Next year’s team will continue with Grade 10s Watt, Donick, Talia Kantautus, Damia Thalheimer, Jordyn Lombardi and Cruickshank. Grade 9 players Taylar Janicki, McCoy and Hopley will be joined by a strong group of returning Grade 8s: Emma Uhrich, Sofia De Pieri, Taylor Melnyk, and Sarah Donick.
Coach Louis Drummond and teacher manager Freya Vos said they are extremely proud of this group of young women for their hard work, resilience and determination throughout this season.
This story appeared in print on page B2 of The Daily Courier on June 5.