Members of the Juan de Fuca under-17 girls gold soccer team show their camaraderie before a recent game. The team begins its provincial U17 B Cup competition play against the Saanich Fusion this Sunday at Westhills Stadium at 10 a.m.

Youth soccer cup play heats up

Juan de Fuca gold teams look to continue on road to provincials

This weekend will be a busy one on the turf fields in Langford, as Juan de Fuca’s oldest gold level youth soccer teams battle regional rivals in provincial B cup playdowns. Coach Gord Johnson’s combined under-17/18 boys are fresh off a 3-1 victory over Gorge in the Lower Island quarter-finals and are preparing to face nemesis Saanich Fusion U18s in a semifinal match Sunday at 10 a.m. at Goudy Field. “It’ll be a tight game between two evenly matched teams,” Johnson said. “My boys are fired up and ready to go.” The sides have split their two regular-season games in Lower Island Soccer Association play, with Juan de Fuca winning 2-0 at home back in October and losing 2-0 on the road in December. Juan de Fuca sits third in league play with seven wins, five losses and a draw. Some JdF players in this age group moved on to play in the top-flite Vancouver Island Premier League, Johnson said. For those who stuck together as a unit, and the newcomers who moved up from silver level, the goal for this season was to make a run at a provincial title, he added. “This is achievable, but a few bounces have to go your way and you have to peak at the right time. We’ll need to play a more well-rounded and complete game than we did last weekend to be successful (against Saanich). But this is where we wanted to be. We totally have the potential to win the Lower Islands and go to the B.C.s.” Down the road at Westhills Stadium at the same time Sunday, the Juan de Fuca girls coached by Michelle Mahovlich and Steve Newman take on the Saanich Fusion in the U17 Lower Island semifinal for B Cup play. Like the boys, these two groups of players have a rivalry that goes back a ways, having moved up the age divisions together. Juan de Fuca won the U16 District Cup last season, after getting beat 1-0 in the Lower Island B Cup semifinals by Saanich, who made it to the B.C. final. That close result mirrored games the teams have had this season and in recent years, said Mahovlich. Seventh-place Juan de Fuca has just two wins this year, but one was over the Fusion, currently in fourth. “We both play a very similar game, hard to the ball all the time,” she said. “So, we anticipate that this game will be a physical match, well played, with neither side giving an inch. Fifteen of the 17 girls on our U17 gold team this year have played for JDF since they were near to the Timbits age group. We have two new players to our team this year who have been a great addition to our group.” The other Juan de Fuca team in the U17/18 girls division, the U18s coached by Ric Pasquotti, are preparing to take on Bays United in a B Cup semifinal game at home. Due to unavailability of a number of Bays players for a Sunday game, the match is in the midst of being rescheduled from Sunday to either Monday or Tuesday. Pasquotti’s team has gone 6-4-4 this regular season and sits fifth, two points behind the Fusion. The cup competitions are all single knockout. editor@goldstreamgazette.com

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