After starting the 2014 VIPL soccer season with a 2-0-1 record, the Upper Island U14 Riptide boys faced their toughest task to date – a match last weekend with the Saanich Fusion at Tyndal Park in Victoria.
Last season, the Fusion defeated Riptide 6-0 in the Island playdowns, eventually becoming U13 provincial champions. Coming into this contest, everyone on the Riptide squad knew what was expected of them if they wanted to leave Victoria with a favourable result.
The Fusion came out quickly in the first half and dominated play. After some defensive breakdowns and missed assignments, the Riptide found themselves down 2-0 on two goals that had a similar air about them.
Saanich continued to press, but Riptide’s goalkeeper Tyler Griffith (filling in the for injured Alec Weinstein) came up big a couple of times to keep the score 2-0. The Riptide finally started to get rolling around the 20-minute mark.
After a series of nice chances, the Riptide were finally rewarded when Joe Dirom found the twine, scoring on a partial break from about 15 yards out. Minutes later, Riptide equalized on some first-class passing. Cohen McCabe passed the ball over to Fergus Hall who then one-time tip-passed the ball over to Dirom for a tap-in from about three yards out.
Just before the first half whistle, Saanich capitalized on more defensive breakdowns to go up 3-2 on a rocket shot from 18 yards out into the lower corner of the net.
For most of the second half, the Riptide were strong, but Saanich were very opportunistic, capitalizing twice more on uncharacteristically weak and, at times, confused play from the Upper Island squad. Down 5-2, things were looking bleak for the Riptide. It would have been easy to hang their heads and quit, but this team isn’t about that (quitting).
With about 10 minutes left, Hall potted a goal on a breakaway and the score was now 5-3. Less than five minutes later, Nathan Chow was sent in on a semi-breakaway, making no mistake and burying his chance; the score was now 5-4.
Riptide really looked to have the Fusion on the ropes at this point, but the referee’s final whistle sounded on the Riptied’s first defeat of the season.
“This really was an exciting contest with a lot of positive stuff for the lads to take away from,” a Riptide spokesperson said.
– Riptide U14 Boys