A third-place finish in the University of Victoria Nike Spring Classic high school girls soccer tournament was the best in anyone’s memory for Belmont secondary.
The West Shore squad did it the hard way, as penalty kicks were needed to settle four of its five games.
The third/fourth-place game pitted the top two teams from the 2013 Island championships, in which Oak Bay and Belmont went undefeated but only the Breakers advanced to provincials based on one fewer goal against. Belmont outgunned the eventual B.C. silver medalists in a shootout Saturday on the turf at UVic, however, after the teams played to a scoreless draw.
“To go into that many penalty kick (situations) is a goalkeeper’s nightmare,” said Belmont assistant coach Lloyd Powell, who praised keeper Emma Stewart for allowing just one goal in regulation time.
The physically demanding three-day event took its toll, with five Belmont starters now lost to injury for indeterminate amounts of time. But it also presented an opportunity to play younger players and give them valuable game time, Powell said.
“I thought we played really well as a team, since most of the girls are new,” added Marisa Livingstone, one of four Grade 12s on the team. “I think our first two games were not the greatest, but as the tournament went on we got a lot better, we were communicating better on the field.”
Livingstone’s early goal in Saturday’s semifinal against Stelly’s held up until the final minute of play, when the Stingers tied it at 1-1. Stelly’s – recent 2-0 losers to Belmont in league play – won in a shootout to advance to the tournament final.
Belmont opened with shootout wins over Sa-Hali of Surrey and Kelowna, both of which followed scoreless games.
The offence got going Friday against perennial single-A power Glenlyon-Norfolk, with Belmont scoring a 3-0 victory on goals by Livingstone, Kenzie Lacon and Keltie Straith.
Tate Stevenson was voted tournament MVP for Belmont, which was due to resume league play at Claremont on Tuesday. They host Spectrum on Thursday at Goudy Field in City Centre Park at 3:30 p.m.