In the school’s fourth straight appearance at the AA boys provincial soccer championship, Brentwood College achieved its best result ever, finishing fourth at the tournament in Burnaby last week.
“The school had never won its group before, and fourth was the best result in school history,” head coach Wes Barrett said. “So that was pretty cool for the kids.
“The boys were pretty pleased with how they did overall.”
Brentwood reached the final four in what Barrett called a “tight tournament,” despite missing some key players in Juan Navarro, who was named the top goalie at provincials a year ago, and starting centre back Noel Pettit. Fortunately, the team still had a lot of depth, which had already come into play at the North Island and Island championships, and with five players called up from the junior team, were able to rotate several subs into matches at provincials.
“It was tough to lose Noel,” Barrett admitted. “But the guys that could play were up to the challenge.”
Brentwood opened the tournament last Monday with a 3-1 win over McRoberts, scoring a couple of early goals and rolling from there.
“The score line makes it look like we were dominant,” Barrett said. “But it was quite even.”
That was followed later the same day by a 2-0 loss to Alpha. Brentwood struggled to get things going, while Alpha scored on an unfortunate bounce and made their lead hold up.
Back in action on Tuesday morning, Brentwood required the stars to align in order to win their group. Not only did they need to beat Caledonia, but they also needed McRoberts to beat or tie Alpha. Brentwood defeated Caledonia 3-1, and got the necessary help as the other teams in the pool played to a 1-1 draw.
As winners of their pool, Brentwood advanced directly to the semifinals on Tuesday afternoon, where they were defeated 2-0 by Notre Dame. Brentwood managed to shut down Notre Dame’s top players, but couldn’t create any offence of their own.
“That was a tough one to concede,” Barrett said. “I think we were on the right track. They were the more clinical team and finished their chances. That’s football.”
In their last game of the tournament, Brentwood was beaten 6-2 by Langley Fundamental. The two-time defending champions, and the best team in the tournament, in Barrett’s view, Langley Fundamental was upset in the semifinal by St. Thomas Aquinas, and went into the final with more legs left than Brentwood.
“They were hard for us to handle,” Barrett commented. “You could tell they had a lot more experience as a team and as individuals. Our boys showed a lot of character. It was a tough game.”
Among Brentwood’s top performers at provincials were Grade 11 standouts Jack Napier-Ganley and Jack Rogers, while Callum Blake-Currier was named to the Commissioner’s 11 based on his leadership and maturity. Primarily a rugby player, Blake-Currier had played soccer when he was younger and joined Brentwood’s team for his Grade 12 year.
“This was his first year playing in our soccer program, and he played pretty much every minute of every game at centre back,” Barrett said.
Brentwood will lose about eight players to graduation, but the five Grade 9 and 10 players who played up at provincials will be ready to make the jump to the senior squad next year.
“We do lose some key players who have done a great job this year and the year before,” Barrett said. “But we’ve got a good core coming up. We’re still in a good place for the future of the program.”