By Randy Wachtin, LIWSA
(ISN) – In the final two Cup Championships of the year for the Lower Island Women’s Soccer Association, the Saanich Fusion FC Storm and Saltspring United added their names to the 2012 list of champions when they won their respective Cup finals Sunday at Lochside Park.
Kicking things off in the Frank Leversedge Community Cup, the Saanich Fusion FC Storm used a goal by Melissa Lee in the 70th minute to defeat Bays United FC 1-0
Saanich Fusion FC faced their close rivals from within their own division, Bays United FC in the Frank Leversedge Community Cup final. It would be Bays United who pressed early and often into the attack earning three quality scoring chances within the first few minutes of the match. Shots simply missed their mark. Storm keeper in the opening half, Kate Whitmore made two fearless saves smothering the ball at the feet of Bays strikers later in the half.
Saanich Fusion FC Storm would eventually settle and the play became more balanced between both teams.
In the 70th minute, a Saanich Fusion FC Storm defender nicked a Bays United striker from behind whilst on a breakaway. The infraction just outside the penalty area drew an immediate expulsion reducing the Storm to 10 men in formation. Bays would send the ensuing free kick wide of the mark. The complexion of the game completely changed after that.
Storm coach, Drew Smyth went with an aggressive formation (3-4-2) whilst a man down. Bays United let their foot off the gas only slightly, and got burned in the process.
A cross from the left side in the attack by Danielle Lovick found midfielder Melissa Lee open and she hit paydirt with well placed strike at 77 minutes. Bays United FC worked hard to force the game back in the Storm area of the park. Second half keeper, Abbey Lovick held her own and the Storm came away as Cup Champions.
Saanich Fusion FC Storm earned the double – Division 3B League Champion & Frank Leversedge Community Cup Champion
Saanich Fusion FC Storm are promoted to Division 2 for 2012/2013 season.
Bays United FC to play a special playoff vs. Lakehill Reds for promotion position.
Special guest, Peggy Leversedge delighted the winners and runners up with personal congratulations and a warmhearted gratitude while presenting recognition along with LIWSA LEague President, Casey Tepper to both teams.
At halftime, LIWSA hosted a surprise 80th birthday party to long-time Victoria area soccer coach, Brian Royer-Collard. Currently in his 37th year of coaching women’s soccer in Victoria, the co-founder of the first girls soccer league in Victoria had many wonderful stories to share. He was also over the moon as his beloved Queen’s Park Rangers defeated Arsenal on the weekend too. Brian currently coaches his granddaughters with the Saanich Fusion FC Cascades Div 2 ladies.
In the most courageous cup final played the past two weekends, it was Div 2 league winners, Saltspring United who rode an early goal from striker Sue Ann Donaldson (6′) then held fort to claim the Stephanie Shergold Cup 1-0 over league winners, Gorge FC.
A game played with incredible pace both ways, tackles were fearless, intensity balanced on a very fine edge and all players competing for the cup as if the security of their world depended upon victory. It was a great gift to the fans. Truly, both teams were deserved, but in harsh reality, only one allowed to triumph.
Saltspring United keeper, Alisha Renaud played the game of her life. The first year keeper frustrated the very experienced Gorge FC side simply with a fearless heart, and aggressive attack of the ball in her area. She earned full marks added with a gold star for shutout honours.
Saltspring United as Division 2 League Champions are promoted to Division 1 for the 2012/13 season.
Sue Ann Donaldson (Saltspring United), a mother of three boys, and gifted with amazing speed/skill was an Alberta Provincial Youth player who trained under Tracy David (Gorge FC) long before Tracy became head coach of Vikes… (the things we learn…)
Gorge FC (O30A League Champions) advance to Provincial Women’s Classics cup competition representing LIWSA.