The curtain has closed on the 2021 high school girls’ soccer season.
While none of Airdrie’s four teams won silverware this fall, coaches said the 2021 campaign was still a success, as it gave the girls the opportunity to return to competitive school sports – something they had been missing out on since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Honestly, the kids just all had fun,” said Matt Smith, a W.H. Croxford teacher and a co-coach of the Cavaliers girls’ soccer team this fall. “They were so happy to be out there and play. That was huge, how much they had missed school sports.”
After six weeks of games and practices, the Cavaliers ended their 2021 season at Monklands Park on Oct. 21 with a 4-0 loss against the Bow Valley Bobcats, of Cochrane. The game was to determine the bronze-medal winner of the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA).
Though they may have not made it onto the score sheet, Smith said the Cavaliers played their hearts out against the Bobcats, and the game was closer than the final score indicated.
“We played phenomenally and were crushing it,” he said. “[Bow Valley] just had a few opportunities where, literally, the ball slipped through our goalie’s hands. We were doing amazing and our girls were lighting it up, especially in the first half. We had an injury at half that was kind of a big injury, but our girls played phenomenally.”
Two teams dominated the RVSA this season – the unbeaten Cochrane Cobras and the second-place Springbank Phoenix, whose only defeat came against the league-leading Cobras. Playing on the adjacent field at Monklands Park on Oct. 21, the Cobras overcame the Phoenix 5-2 to claim the RVSA banner – their fourth divisional title in a row.
While every other teams’ games against Cochrane and Springbank were one-sided affairs, Smith said the rest of the RVSA was quite competitive this season – Croxford’s “derby” matches against the other Airdrie teams – Bert Church and George McDougall – saw some close-fought battles.
“Cochrane and Springbank were really above [the rest of the league], but the other teams were actually really equal, so it was nice,” Smith said. “Those were hard games for us, but the other games were really nice. It was good.”
Bert Church’s post-season came to a close Oct. 19, with a 3-2 loss to Croxford in the league’s quarterfinals, while the Mustangs ended the season the same day, with a 4-0 loss to Bow Valley.
Kodiaks finish second
Differing from the city’s public high schools, the sports teams for Airdrie’s Catholic high school – St. Martin de Porres – play in the Calgary Senior High School Athletic Association (CSHSAA).
This fall, the St. Martin de Porres Kodiaks girls’ soccer team ended their season by finishing runner-up in Division 4. After finishing the CSHSAA regular season with a 1-3-1 record, the Kodiaks found an extra gear for the playoffs, winning their quarterfinal and semi-final contests before losing to the Robert Thirsk Comets in the gold-medal game on Oct. 19.
“It was pretty incredible given [that] our team is made up of so many different levels of talent and we only had a month together,” said Jessica Hamilton, who coached the Kodiaks this season alongside Sydney Wagner.
According to Hamilton, the Kodiaks roster was combined of a mixture of players, ranging in age from Grade 10 through 12s. She said the girls quickly developed their chemistry this season, and said the team continually demonstrated St. Martin de Porres’ three pillars – leadership, fellowship, and mentorship.
“This group of Grade 10s through 12s went beyond the scope of what we would expect,” she said. “They’re an incredible group of young women, and every game they played, they wanted to get better for each other. They knew how important this [season] was to our Grade 12s, and every game, they tried harder and harder.”