Royal Bay player Briar Mayoh cuts between Stelly's players Chloe Beech

Ravens soccer program built for future success

‘AA’ Island tournament looms large for Royal Bay girls side

The Royal Bay Ravens senior girls would rather have been playing in yesterday’s Ryan Cup soccer semifinals and competing for a spot in next week’s final.

But Tuesday’s 3-2 home loss to Stelly’s in the city championship quarter-finals leaves the Colwood team with more time to prepare for the Island AA championships.

“We’ll probably actually keep things light for our next training session, because now we have a little bit of time to prep,” said Ravens’ head coach Mariel Solsberg, noting that her players were “the quietest they’ve ever been” after the loss.

“To be honest it’s quite nice that we have a little more time to focus on our technical side, rather than always having a game every week.”

Getting players out to practice can be tough, she added, since they’re committed to a number of different activities.

Royal Bay was dominant in the A/AA league this spring, going 6-0-1 and allowing just one goal against. Despite going undefeated, the Ravens lost the league title to St. Michaels University School. The teams played to a scoreless draw back on April 26, but SMUS was awarded first place due to not giving up a goal all season.

While their second-place league finish qualified them for the Islands, set for June 2 to 4 in Campbell River, Royal Bay players were focused on doing as well as possible in the Ryan Cup competition, Solsberg said. The Cup tournament is the true city championship in that it pits top teams from each of the tiers in a single-knockout format.

In Tuesday’s match, possession was spread fairly evenly between Royal Bay and Stelly’s through the first half, which ended 2-2.

The Ravens largely carried the play in the second but were hard-pressed to come up with many quality scoring chances.

The winning goal came with only a few minutes left in regulation. Stelly’s standout Erin Jackson, who scored both of her team’s goals in the first half, took a pass up the middle and quickly fed Kelsey Boudreau, who drilled a long shot past the Royal Bay goalkeeper.

Brea Christie scored both Royal Bay goals in the opening half.

Asked what has made this group come together so well, Solsberg had a few theories.

“I think they’re really just positive with one another. They all seem to want to get better, want to help each other get better … I haven’t seen a group gel as quickly as they have. I don’t know what it is. If you look at the makeup of the team, it’s such a variety of people, such a variety of ages but for whatever reason it seems to click.”

With a large number of Grade 9 and 10 players who would otherwise be playing in the junior girls division, the Ravens are a great development squad because the older players mentor the younger ones, she said.

“Some of our starters are Grade 9s, going up against Grade 11 and 12s, which I think is fairly unique, and they seemed to fit in quite well,” Solsberg said. “I think that speaks volumes for the future for this group.”

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Saanich Police looking for information relating to suspicious death

The body of a man was found on Crease Avenue just after 9 a.m. on Saturday

250th Free Little Library installed in Victoria

Greater Victoria now has the highest density of mapped little libraries in the country

Urbanists hope to see Victoria’s unused rooftops, parkades, parking lots become usable green space

Downtown Residents Association says city dwellers should have access to parks

For the love of fibre: fibre arts celebrated through demonstrations and market showcasing locally made items

Fibre arts celebrated through demonstrations and market showcasing locally made items

Cemetery tour explores Metchosin’s early history

A tour with grave consequences for those wishing to explore Metchosin’s history takes place Aug. 25

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read