On Sunday, the Comox Valley United Soccer Club U15 select girls Wildfire played the U15s from Powell River at the Vanier turf. it was an important game because the visitors were slightly ahead of the Wildfire for first place, and it was also a Cup qualifier.
The first few minutes saw the Wildfire playing defensively and nervous. This led to a turnover at the 18-yard box and a goal in the first five minutes. But the Wildfire started to control possession and attacking opportunities for the next 20 minutes. The girls also nullified Powell River’s kick-and-chase game.
At the 25-minute mark, there was some brilliant development in the midfield by Lucie Cardinal and Carly Tutt, which allowed MacKenzie Stevens to receive a pass on the far left side and deliver a cross which streaked across the six-yard box. With Cassandra Campbell and Elena Bonneau in the goal mouth, this caused enough traffic that somehow the ball was untouched and managed to continue to the right side where a sprinting Hannah Barrios unloaded on the ball and scored a laser beam of a goal.
Less than 10 minutes later, some solid defending and development from Caitlyn Follis, Bella Olson, Sarah Messana and Chloe Edmondson led to a brilliant lead pass by Cassandra Campbell from inside the midfield circle to Barrios. Without hesitation, Hannah drove to the goal and buried her second goal from just inside the 18 yard box. Monet Ghinis made some outstanding saves on a wet and slippery day, which gave the Wildfire confidence.
With a 2-1, the start of the second half was a repeat of the first. Taking advantage of the Wildfire’s tentative play, Powell River scored in the first four minutes. With the game tied, the Wildfire again began to pressure and play very sound soccer. The defence stymied the Powell River attack and was able to get the ball to striker Ella West just past midfield. Ella, who was playing in her first game since breaking her collar bone against the same team, played a magnificent ball to Stevens, who beat the right fullback and put the Wildfire ahead 3-2.
This did not stop the Wildfire. With some key throw-ins from Sarah Banks into the 18-yard box, Elena Bonneau created some space for herself just inside the top of the D and scored the insurance goal.
“Our parents were instrumental in providing support and energy to the team. Their enthusiastic cheering and positive energy truly inspired the girls to play at their highest level all season.”