The Frances Kelsey Breakers finished fourth this year out of 21 AA girls soccer teams on the Island. (Submitted)

The Frances Kelsey Breakers finished fourth this year out of 21 AA girls soccer teams on the Island. (Submitted)

Breakers finish fourth on Island

Kelsey girls soccer team has a bright future

The Frances Kelsey Breakers just barely missed out on a return trip to the provincial AA girls soccer championships.

The Breakers finished fourth at the AA Island tournament in Victoria last week, with the top three teams earning a berth in the B.C. tournament.

“They played their hearts out,” Kelsey coach Brian Johnston said. “I give everybody credit with great performances and where they got to.”

Kelsey opened the Island tournament on Monday morning with a 1-0 win over Royal Bay that could have gone either way. Robyn Zinkan scored the only goal of the match about 10 minutes into the second half when she took a pass from Marissa Morris and finished with her left foot. Royal Bay put the pressure on during the last 10 minutes of the match, but Kelsey held on to win 1-0.

In their next game, the Breakers faced Shawnigan Lake School, who had lost to Carihi 3-0 in their tournament opener. After a fairly even first half, Shawnigan went ahead 2-0 early in the second when centre midfielder Sophie Miranda scored twice in a 10-minute span. Kelsey got the momentum back, and narrowed the gap when Emerald White took a free kick and chipped the ball over the defence to Zinkan, who slotted it home. With two minutes left to play, White took another free kick that was bobbled by the Shawnigan keeper. Zinkan jumped on the loose ball and buried the tying goal, the second time in two meetings that Kelsey has tied Shawnigan at the buzzer.

Royal Bay beat Carihi in those teams’ second game of the tournament, keeping the standings tight going into the final matches of pool play, which happened at the same time on Tuesday morning: Kelsey playing Carihi and Shawnigan meeting Royal Bay. Johnston arranged to get reports from the Shawnigan game, which ended in a scoreless tie, so he would know where his team stood.

Niki Leech opened the scoring for Kelsey around the 15-minute mark on a corner kick that found its way straight into the net. Carihi came on strong in the second half, and scored the tying goal early on, then added the winner with five minutes left. A solid defensive effort by Danielle Wince kept the score at 2-1 through the final whistle.

Carihi finished first in the pool with six points. Kelsey and Royal Bay had four each, but Kelsey placed second because they won the head to head match. Shawnigan finished with two points.

Carihi played St. Michaels University School for first place on the Island, with SMUS winning 4-0, while Kelsey played Mark R. Isfeld for bronze. Both teams played well, Johnston noted, despite the heat and exhaustion of playing a fourth game in two days. Kelsey had more chances in the first, their best coming as Grade 8 Jessica Butler battled her way through and kicked the ball just wide, and from Aisha Werner, who is always a threat but was playing her first game of the tournament because of an injury.

The match was scoreless at halftime. Isfeld went ahead about 20 minutes into the second half, then scored again with about five minutes left.

“It was a good performance to end with,” Johnston said. “Unfortunately, we were not very lucky.”

Johnston was pleased to see his team finish fourth out of 21 AA teams on the Island.

“That’s a bit higher than I thought we would finish this year,” he said.

The team has six graduating players this year, including goalkeeper Mackenna Posey, Wince, Zinkan, White, Mackenzie Johnston and Kristen Banasch, all of whom were outstanding at the Island tournament. They will be missed, but Johnston remains optimistic.

“We have a good bunch of Grade 8s and 9s coming through,” he said. “It looks good for the future.”