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Story by Markus Wenzel, Photo by Arjuna George

Victoria (ISN) – The Saltspring U17 Boys soccer team defeated Peninsula 3-2 in a shoot-out Sunday to win the U17 Boys District Cup.

Salt Spring’s U17 Boys soccer team travelled to Colwood Sunday to take on Peninsula in the final of the U17 Boys District Cup. While in theory they should have been well rested and mentally prepared, in typical Salt Spring fashion, four of the starters cut their basketball or volleyball camps short to skirt across town in time for the soccer final. As parent and coach, you love to hear the words “Dad, I can’t move my legs” as you get your son “up” for the game! 

The sun showed its face for the kickoff in Juan de Fuca, along with the biggest contingent of “away” fans the team has seen. The first 20 minutes of the game were pretty tame in terms of chances, as the teams were tight-checking and getting into the game. Salt Spring had a few good chances off of Justin Kopetzki and Billy George, but none could get past the agile Peninsula keeper. At about the 30th minute, Peninsula struck first on a brilliant one-times off a corner kick that eludes the stretched out fists of keeper Alex Graham. The half ended 1-0.

The second half started with Salt Spring carrying the possession, again with opportunities that were unable to elude Peninsula. At about the 20 minute mark, a Peninsula cross inadvertently hit Eric Weatherby’s arm inside the penalty area. They would convert on their penalty shot, putting Peninsula up 2-0. Salt Spring replied with wave after wave of attack, but were stymied again and again. With about 15 minutes left, having moved to only 3 defensemen in favour of more offense, good things started to happen. Sam Miles forced a corner kick, and Justin’s cross found the bounding head of Lukas Wenzel. The ball found the low corner of the net., making it 2-1.

Things were looking bleak as the teams entered into injury time, when luck struck again. Now, it was the Peninsula defender’s turn to inadvertently use his hand in the penalty area. The last play of the game saw Tim Camps bury the PK into the lower left corner, tying the game 2-2 and forcing a shootout. Thanks to keeper Alex Graham’s heroic efforts to deny three of Peninsula’s four shots, and goals by Wenzel, Kopetzki, and Weatherby, Salt Spring’s U17 Boys got to hoist the District Cup!