The Comox Valley Millennium proved too much for their Mid-Isle opponents Sunday at Valley View, scoring an impressive 2-0 victory to claim the Upper Island berth for the U13 girls Island Invitational Cup.
The Comox Valley United Soccer Club side will represent the Upper Island Soccer Association against the Lower Island Soccer Association winner in the cup final in 2014.
The Millennium came into the game being undefeated against the Mid-Isle team. But they knew that their competition had been getting stronger each week, earning a tie last Sunday against Powell River.
Millennium coaches and players knew they couldn’t take a win for granted. “We knew we would have to work for it. And the girls did just that. They played with heart to earn the win today,” said coach Lisa Wigard.
After carrying most of the play in the first half, the Millennium came on even stronger in the second half and were rewarded with late goals by Ciara Halverson and Lauren Wigard. Jessi Coppick and Nicolette Vinnedge shared the shutout.
“Endurance has made a real difference in the second half of games this season. We have Kelsey Tufnail, physiotherapist at The Joint Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Centre, to thank for that,” coach Wigard said.
Tufnail, who played NCAA Div. 1 soccer for four years at Eastern Washington University (where she went on a full soccer scholarship) volunteers one night every week with Team Millennium, training the girls to improve their strength, speed, endurance, and mental preparedness. “It’s made a tangible difference in our games, and the girls absolutely love her,” Wigard said.
“Special thanks also to our team sponsor, Jane Denham, realtor with Re/Max Ocean Pacific Realty whose financial contributions, combined with our multiple fundraising activities, help support team travel and tournament registrations.”
Team Millennium will stay sharp for the cup final by playing regular league games every Sunday. This weekend they are in Powell River. Follow the team on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/comoxvalleymillennium.
Wigard notes the Island Cup playdowns are supposed to be played in February. “Since the ferry dock is being re-done, Powell River Soccer Club opted out of the second part of the Upper Island Soccer season, which I don’t blame them. Their ferry schedule is ridiculous.
“Upper Island Soccer decided to do Island Cup play now instead. Our game against Powell River (who we have never beaten) on Oct. 20 was a single elimination cup game. Our coaching team decided not to tell the girls it was a cup game so they wouldn’t get nervous. They won the game, and eliminated Powell River. We told the girls after the game and they couldn’t believe it. It was super cute to hear them scream!” Wigard said.
“On Sunday we played the final round against Mid-Isle. We have never lost against them, and we were confident that our girls were able to win. However, this time they knew it was a cup game. Personally I was very curious to see how our girls would handle the pressure mentally.
They handled it perfectly. They focused on the game and played like they know how and pulled off a win. These girls continue to make us proud week after week, win or lose,” Wigard added.