The Riptide U14 Girls proudly hold the championship banner. In front

Riptide U14 Girls win VIPL league championship

Big 3-0 win in final game peoples Upper Island youth soccer team to top spot

It took their final league game to decide it, but the Upper Island Riptide U14 Girls soccer team beat the Lower Island’s Gorge/Lakehill Thunder team 3-0 on home turf on Jan. 31 to earn top spot and become Vancouver Island Premier League champions.

One point behind Saanich going into this game, Riptide needed a win to secure top spot in the league for priority seeding in the VIPL A-Cup playdowns, which begin Feb. 14.


Riptide had won both of their previous match-ups against Gorge so they felt confident going in. That said, anything can happen in a game situation so the team knew that they would have to play hard and leave it all out on the turf.

Despite Riptide having the majority of ball possession and multiple chances, it wasn’t until well into the second half that scoring began.


“The girls had their backs against the wall in a scoreless game at half time, knowing they needed a victory in this last league game to take the VIPL league title,” explained coach Jim Stewart. “Our girls kept their cool and started to apply greater pressure with their attack in the second half.”

Then, it was like the taps turned on. It started about 15 minutes in when Abby Sexton made a beautiful pass to Ciara Halvorson whose powerful kick found the back of the net. The team and fans were screaming with excitement, only to hear the referee declare no goal because it was offside!

But that may have been the extra burst of energy that Riptide needed to find completion. A couple of minutes later, Sexton and Halvorson teamed up again to score the first real goal of the game.

Within another five minutes, Halvorson scored again off a long pass from Sophie L at midfield.

With only a couple minutes left in the game, Sexton had a breakaway opportunity which drew the Gorge goalie well out of the net to stop her. With an impending full on collision, Sexton was able to pass the ball off for Tiana Stewart who sped in to score her first goal of the season and clinch the win.

Coaches Stewart, Lisa Wigard and Matt Laver agreed, “It was a tremendous team effort, and they were rewarded with a convincing win. In addition, the girls have maintained momentum heading into the playoffs with five straight victories and they have outscored their opponents 11-2 in those games.  We are all very proud of them.”

The win was the sixth clean sheet for Riptide’s defensive line and keeper Nicolette Vinnedge – a 50 per cent shutout rate that they should be very proud of. Riptide ended the season with and 8-3-1 record with 26 goals for and 12 against (the highest goal differential in the league).

Riptide captain Aisha Hunter-Bellavia, expressed the humble pride felt by her team. “Coming into Riptide this year and a higher level of soccer, our team didn’t know how the year would go for us. But with our coaches’ steady guidance and the chance to get additional training through Riptide, we quickly created this amazing skillful and loving group of teammates/sisters/friends.”

Hunter-Bellavia went on to say that, “We learned how to play with and for each other. And we are so grateful to everyone who has put in time to help us get here. We’re excited and ready to go for playdowns.”

Now Riptide has their eyes set on earning their way to the Provincials. Their first game in the VIPL A-Cup playdowns will be on Feb. 21. In the meantime, Riptide will continue their rigorous training schedule plus add exhibition games to continue their preparation.

For more information about the Riptide U14 Girls soccer team, sponsored by Lacasse Construction, visit the team’s Facebook page at


–Riptide U14 Girls



Just Posted

Woman rescued from Stotan Falls calling for safety measures

3L Developments did not comment on immediate plans to add safety precautions

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

More than 22,000 blood donors needed

Canadian Blood Services is urging Canadians to help meet patients’ needs this… Continue reading

Kiyoshi Kosky running for Courtenay City Council

I am Kiyoshi Kosky and am running in the upcoming Courtenay Municipal… Continue reading

Courtenay Volunteer Fire Department to hold Tour de Rock fundraiser

On Sunday, Aug. 19, the Courtenay Volunteer Fire Department will be having… Continue reading

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

B.C. company patents Sasquatch, the country’s first homegrown hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, Sasquatch hops are being grown commercially for the first time in B.C.

Farmers ponder impact of alternatives to pesticides being banned

The nicotine-based pesticides scientists have linked to a rising number of honey bee deaths will be phased out of use in Canada over a three year period starting in 2021.

Time to kick maverick Tory MP Maxime Bernier out of caucus, Scheer urged

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier is taking issue with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s oft-repeated message of diversity in Canada, calling it a form of “radical multiculturalism.”

Thousands of police officers expected at regimental funeral in Fredericton

Two civilians were killed in a shooting in Fredericton that also claimed the lives of two police officers.

2 girls, hand-drawn map in hand, sneak out of B.C. home for adventure

The pair’s escape has transit police reminding commuters to report unusual behaviour

Authorities call for calm as fires burn near Zeballos

Authorities are asking residents not to panic as several wildfires burn near… Continue reading

Ex-B.C. teachers’ union leader among latest pipeline protesters to get jail time

Twelve people have been sentenced for violating court order to stay away from Kinder Morgan terminal

B.C. not prepared for a Humboldt Broncos bus crash, group says

An air ambulance advocacy group wants an overhaul of B.C.’s emergency medical system in rural regions

Most Read