A week after winning the South Central Zones Tier 2 tournament in Cochrane, the Bert Church Chargers girls’ soccer team picked up its second accolade Oct. 24, earning the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) bronze medal. The win came via a 1-0 overtime victory against the W.H. Croxford Cavaliers at Monklands Park.
The bronze-medal match marked the second contest between the two Airdrie teams in 2019. The first was also close, with the teams tying 1-1 during the regular season.
“It was such a hard game…but I think we just exceeded our expectations today, so I’m pleased with that,” said Bert Church senior Jocelyn Pierce.
After regulation time ended without any goals, the match was decided by 20 additional minutes of play. Pierce, who also scored the last time the team played Croxford, potted the winner early into extra time.
“I was passed to right outside the box. I kicked it, and it went right off the goalies’ hands and into the back of the net,” she said.
Croxford pressed for the equalizer and was nearly rewarded with a goal in the final minute of extra time, but the Bert Church defenders managed to clear the ball out for a corner kick. The final whistle sounded a few seconds later.
Despite losing the match, Croxford’s players were upbeat.
“It was evenly matched,” said Jenna Leost, a Grade-12 player who featured in multiple positions. “They just got one when we were down a little bit, in the defensive zone.
“It is what it is.”
The Chargers finished the regular season in third place with a 3-1-2 record, while the Cavaliers followed closely behind with a 3-1-1 record in fourth. Bert Church booked its spot in the semi-finals with a dominant 11-2 win over the Chestermere Lakers Oct. 16 in the quarterfinals, while the Cavaliers won a hard-fought match 2-1 against the Bow Valley Bobcats the same day.
The teams’ hopes of bringing a banner to Airdrie ended Oct. 22 in the semi-finals, however, as Bert Church was shut out 3-0 by the Cochrane Cobras and the Cavaliers fell 4-0 to the Springbank Phoenix.
By finishing in fourth place, Croxford matched last year’s accomplishment. Prior to 2018, the team hadn’t won a game in the three years it had competed in the RVSA.
Cavalier Jaden Straschnitzki said qualifying for the semi-finals two years in a row shows the team is on the up.
“We also did really well against Springbank, so I think it’s definitely improving,” she said. “More girls want to come out and show their talent. It’s really supportive, so it’s easier to play, and it’s just a great group of girls.”
On the adjacent field at Monklands Park, the Cochrane Cobras defeated the Springbank Phoenix 2-1 to win the RVSA championship. Cochrane also won the division title in 2018.