Hay River teams at the Senior Super Soccer tournament in Yellowknife returned home with no banners but still did themselves proud.
The teams from Diamond Jenness Secondary School and Ecole Boreale often made it to the finals or semifinals in their divisions at the May 3 to 7 tournament.
The U19 girls’ team from Diamond Jenness made it to the final in the AA division.
The team completed the round-robin with a 5-1 record.
“Then we played off and we won in the semifinal and we went on to the finals,” said co-coach Heather Coakwell, adding she was “very, very pleased” with the team’s showing.
St. Patrick High School of Yellowknife won the banner.
“It was not as close as we would have liked,” said Coakwell of the final game. “It was like eight to nothing. They basically had beat every single team multiple points to nothing. I think they had only been scored on once in the entire weekend.”
She recognized that St. Pat’s was the class of the field.
“We held our own pretty good, but in the end they were just bigger and faster,” she said. “So next year we’ll be bigger and better.”
Diamond Jenness also didn’t have enough girl soccer players for separate teams for U15 and U19, meaning all the players were put together in one U19 team. It had players from Grade 9 to Grade 12.
The way the tournament works is the top teams go to an AA playoff and the second level teams go to an A playoff.
“So after round robin, we’d only lost one game,” said Coakwell. “So we were second place in the 19AA.”
Overall, she said this year’s Senior Super Soccer was great.
“It was really good to go up there,” she noted. “I love going there for that tournament. It’s always a good turnout. And there’s tons of people in the crowd. It’s a good feeling to go there and try hard. It’s always fun.”
Taylor Maurice, a member of the Diamond Jenness girls’ team, was competing at her fourth Super Soccer tournament.
“We’re going there mainly just to have fun,” said the 16-year-old Grade 11 student.
It was actually a really good accomplishment to come second to St. Pat’s, said Maurice. “It’s good playing a team that’s really good, and trying your best and having fun.”
Ecole Boreale also had an U19 girls’ team with younger players from Grade 7 to 12.
The team finished third in the AA division.
“We lost to DJ actually 2-1 in the semi, and then they went to the final,” said Ecole Boreale coach Etienne Briere.
The coach was pleased with the showing for his team.
“It was a big achievement for them,” Briere said, adding the players did their best.
Ecole Boreale won three games, lost two and tied one in the round-robin.
Ecole Boreale player Samantha Goodwin, who had been at the tournament once before, said it’s good to compete with teams from around the NWT.
“I like playing Yellowknife just because they’re a little bit more challenging,” she the 15-year-old Grade 10 student. “It just kind of challenges ourselves as a team.”
Diamond Jenness had U19 and U15 boys’ teams at the tournament.
Mark Miehm, the coach of the U19 boys’ team, said it ended up coming second in the A final.
Miehm noted his team played 11 games in three days.
“We played four on the Friday and five on the Saturday, and we were just done by the time we got to final, unfortunately,” he said.
Despite that, Miehm said he was “absolutely” pleased with the team’s showing.
It lost to Lutsel K’e in the A final.
“We started off really slow in the first half,” said Miehm. “So we kind of talked and said we need to leave everything out on the floor and play. We were 4-1 down at half and came back and made it 4-3, which was the final. We just couldn’t get that last goal.”
Jonathan Frise, who attends Ecole Boreale but plays with the Diamond Jenness U19 boys’ team, said he really enjoyed the tournament.
“It was really tiring,” he said, mentioning all the games the team played. “But we did play a lot of good teams.”
And the 17-year-old Grade 12 student noted it is always interesting to see how you compare to other players and other teams.
Frise plays with the Diamond Jenness team because there are not enough boys playing soccer at Ecole Boreale to make up a team for Senior Super Soccer.
The U15 boys’ team from Diamond Jenness finished third in the AA division.
St. Patrick High School captured all four AA banners – U15 boys and girls and U19 boys and girls. It was the first time that’s happened since the tiered system began at the tournament.
– Paul Bickford with files from James McCarthy