Too often in the past four years has Glenlyon Norfolk School’s soccer success been referred as a big accomplishment for a small school.
So much so, that in the hallway outside the gymnasium of Glenlyon’s Rockland campus, a student has put red ink to the headline of a news story recently mounted on the bulletin board.
The would-be editor’s comments?
“Enough with the ‘little.’”
Therefore, let the fall of 2012 be remembered for the showdown between the established Glenlyon Norfolk Gryphons, and the new kids on the block, the St. Andrew’s Sabres.
Yes, it’s true. The respective single-A soccer programs draw from less than 81 students in grades 11 and 12. But the Gryphons have arguably been the city’s best soccer program the past five years. And now the Sabres are ringing the same bell, having gouged the Gryphons last week for a berth in the Nov. 14 city final Colonist Cup against the defending champion Lambrick Park Lions.
“St. Andrew’s is a very strong team and I wouldn’t be surprised if they won the Colonist Cup,” said Gryphons coach Hugh Williams.
The Sabres and Gryphons played each other four times in the past month, with each winning twice. The Sabres won in league play and in the Colonist Cup semifinals. The Gryphons won in the gold medal final of both the Island and provincial A championships.
Though the Gryphons’ season is now over, they can take value from winning the provincials.
“It’s a pretty good way to end the season,” Williams said.
On Saturday the Gryphons jumped ahead in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately contest versus the Sabres, beating their private school rivals 3-1 in the final of the Victoria-hosted provincial A championship at UVic. Sabres coach Mark Cristante had predicted the Sabres and Gryphons might meet in the final of the 16-team tournament.
“We’re two very evenly matched teams but also two very different teams,” Williams said.
“St. Andrew’s has very strong players in key positions, where (the Gryphons) are a bit more balanced in their positions.”
It’s the fifth provincial A championship in the past eight years for the Gryphons, which does not include last year’s AA provincial title. But missing out on a rematch with Lambrick in the Colonist Cup final was a heartbreaker for his team, Williams said.
“After three straight years (in the Colonist Cup), we kind of thought we were an automatic.”
Last Saturday’s provincial A gold medal match started out in the Sabres favour when Calvin Paterson scored in the eighth minute. The Gryphons replied with goals from Liam Shillington, Jason Bradbury and Rhys Fletcher-Berna.