It's starting to look like déjà vu for the high-flying Bert Church Chargers boys' soccer team.
With two clean sheets to start the 2019 season, Bert Church looks primed to make a run at a three-peat this year, after winning the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) title in 2017 and 2018.
“Our team has a solid group of Grade 12s who are real leaders out there,” said Chargers head coach Sebastian Durand, who took over the role from Scott Bloxham. “That makes a big difference, because they’re supporting the new kids coming up.”
After snow accumulation delayed games for two weeks, the Chargers kicked off the season May 7 with a 5-0 win over the Bow Valley Bobcats. Two days later, Bert Church put another one in the win column, blanking the W.H. Croxford Cavaliers 4-0.
The Chargers faced little trouble from its inter-city rival at Monklands Park, though the Cavaliers did manage to keep the boys in blue at bay until mid-way through the first half – largely due to the shot-stopping ability of Grade-9 goalkeeper Kayd Wry.
It took 20 minutes before Grade-12 Charger Sion Casey broke the deadlock with a low shot into the corner from just inside the Cavaliers’ 18-yard box.
Bert Church continued to press Croxford’s defence high up the pitch for the rest of the half, forcing the Cavaliers’ centre backs to repeatedly hoof the ball out of danger.
“The philosophy we took on at the start of the season is to put pressure on the ball, and on the first options,” Durand said. “That high pressure allows us to get the ball often, when the other teams make a few mistakes. It helps us keep control. If we possess the ball most of the game, usually it turns into an advantage.”
While the score was just 1-0 at halftime, Bert Church came out with guns blazing in the second half.
Just a few minutes after restart, Tyler Quinn doubled Bert Church’s lead with a near-post strike into the top corner.
The Chargers’ next two goals both came off of crosses from the left side of the pitch – Quentin Martini made it 3-0 with a one-timed effort from close range before Dennis Daniel redirected a corner kick past Wry’s outstretched hands in the last 10 minutes of the game.
The loss to Bert Church was the Cavaliers' first defeat, after the team tied the George McDougall Mustangs 4-4 in the season opener May 7. With a young roster of mostly Grade 10s, head coach Matt Smith said the first two games have been a learning experience.
“A big chunk of our team is in Grade 10, so we have a lot of potential over the next couple of years,” Smith said. “It’s good seeing the youth come up.”
Both teams were back in action May 14 (after press time) with the Chargers taking on the Cochrane Cobras and the Cavaliers facing the Chestermere Lakers.
For the RVSA boys’ soccer schedule, visit bit.ly/2vSR71M