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The Mark Isfeld Ice senior girls field hockey team posted an impressive seventh place finish at the B.C. AA Provincial Tournament last week at the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex.
This was the first time Isfeld qualified for the tournament, and the girls were quite nervous and not certain what to expect. The 12-team tournament was organized into three pools of four teams each, with the Ice in the same pool as #1-ranked Collingwood School from West Vancouver, #6 Southridge Academy from Surrey, and #12 LV Rodgers from Nelson.
The Ice's opening match on Nov. 7 against Southridge Academy was very even, both teams getting several chances to score but neither able to capitalize. Kenzie Hanson, Isfeld’s goalie, made some great saves and the game ended in a 0-0 draw. Coach Moira Ashlee was hoping for a win as this would help them to place at least second in their pool and give them a chance to make it to the championship round.
Isfeld’s next match of the day was against the Collingwood Cavaliers, who have been in the final match at the Provincials for the last five years and have won the championship three times. This powerhouse private school also features three Canadian National U18 players.
The Ice were certainly feeling a little intimidated by this experienced squad and found them too overwhelming. The Ice held the Cavs for about 10 minutes in the first half. The very confident Collingwood squad took over the game at this point and scored four goals to end the first half. The second half proved to be better for the Ice only allowing the Cavs to score one goal to end the game 5-0.
On Thursday morning, the Ice met the LV Rodgers Bombers. In the first half, Isfeld dominated the offensive zone and pounded the Bombers' goalie but were able to score only one by Avery Snider from a pass by Brady Gailloux.
Despite Isfeld’s constant offensive pressure the Bombers were not going to give up and snuck one past Hanson. The Ice fought back to gain a two-goal lead with Snider getting the hat trick and leading the Ice to a 3-1 victory.
Isfeld ended pool play in third and hoping for a wildcard berth into the championship round (top eight). Fortunately for the Ice, they were able to clinch the second wildcard berth, beating out Rossland by one point. Unfortunately for the Ice, their first match in the championship round was against Collingwood who once again proved too strong for the Ice winning 6-0.
Early Friday morning, Isfeld met the #4 squad from Crofton House. This game was very close with both teams having some great offensive opportunities. Early in the second half, Crofton House found the back of the net. With only a minute left, coach Ashlee pulled her goalie to add another offensive player, but it was too late, and the Ice had to accept the 1-0 loss.
In their final bout of the tournament, for seventh or eighth place, the Ice faced Southridge once again. As before, both teams were evenly matched and this game could have gone either way. With only a minute left to play Isfeld mid-fielder Michaela Ashlee carried the ball to the right side of the field and made a pass up to forward Holly Phillips. Phillips took the ball into the offensive zone and made a beautiful cross into Southridge’s circle. The ball was slightly tipped by Emma Balneaves, slowing it just enough for Lex Hornstein to finish the play with a first-timer into the back of the net.
With very little time left, Isfeld’s defensive team of Cassidy Marinus, Sabine Rankin, Erin Hallier and Hanson were under pressure as Southridge attempted to tie the game. With an excellent clear by Marisa Benisky, time ran out and Isfeld won the game to finish seventh.
"It was a fantastic finish to a great season," coach Ashlee said. "Congratulations goes out to all of the Isfeld players for an outstanding season: Holly Phillips, Marisa Benisky, Brady Gailloux, Emma Balneaves, Lex Hornstein, Erin Hallier, Cassidy Marinus, Kenzie Hanson, Michaela Ashlee, Danielle Poirier, Danielle Vanbergen, Avery Snider, Sophie Reimer, Kia Van der Vliet, Sabine Rankin, Kylie Adebar, and Sylvie Stewart-Grantham."
– Isfeld Ice