After two weeks on the road, Riptide U14 girls played at home Saturday when they faced the Lower Island Gorge/Lakehill Thunder team in their fourth game of the VIPL soccer season.
Coming off of two losses against Lower Island teams, Riptide was determined to turn the tides. Building on home team advantage and their confidence in playing on a grass pitch, Riptide got down to business immediately, scoring the first goal of the game and setting the stage for what would follow.
Within five minutes, Kayla Kalhous set up a perfect play for forward, Frédérica Blouin-Comeau, who used her speed down the left wing to score her signature left-footed, tight-angle goal.
That was the start of a Riptide surge. The team dominated, scoring two more goals in the next 15 minutes (Ciara Halvorson and Aisha Hunter-Bellavia).
Gorge showed character, pushing back from behind Riptide’s 3-0 lead. They scored their first goal and controlled play temporarily until Riptide midfielders, defenders and keeper shut them down for the remainder of the game.
Riptide’s Abby Sexton wrapped up the first half with a celebratory goal on a breakaway.
With a solid lead of 4-1 at half, Riptide controlled the play in the second half. Autumn Lewis made Gorge fans cringe as she set up the next two goals for Riptide (Halvorson and Sexton both scored their second goals of the game).
Lauren Wigard scored for Riptide in the last moments of the game, making the final score a decisive win with a somewhat unexpected goal differential of 7-1.
Coach Jim Stewart explained, “Looking at the stats coming into this game, we were tied with Gorge/Lakehill, having won and lost to the same teams. The only slight difference was goal differential; we had scored a few more goals than them but we also had more goals scored against us. The Gorge/Lakehill VIPL franchise consistently produces great teams, so we were prepared for a tight game.”
Stewart went on to say that, “Our girls were mentally, physically and technically prepared. So far this season the scoreboard hasn’t always reflected the effort and possession our girls have had, but on Saturday it did. Our girls did a much better job of creating quality scoring chances and they capitalized on several of them.”
While the Riptide coaches are proud of how their team played, they don’t take it for granted that the next matchup, on Gorge turf Nov. 15, will produce the same result.
Riptide has a couple weeks off from league play until Oct. 25, when the Upper Island Storm comes to Courtenay for their second matchup. In the meantime, follow the team on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/riptide2001girls.
– Riptide U14 Girls