Two wins and only five goals against in their first-ever provincial championship appearance.
Coldstream’s Kalamalka Lakers finished 14th out of 16 at the B.C. High School Senior Boys AA Soccer Championships in Burnaby, finishing with a record of 2-3 as the school made its provincial tournament debut.
Mike Grace’s Lakers finished the tournament with a 2-0 loss to the Gladstone Gladiators of Vancouver.
The highlight of the tournament for Kal was their final preliminary round game Tuesday when they stunned previously unbeaten Archbishop Carney Stars of Port Coquitlam 1-0.
Great opportunities and solid defence from Kal starters and substitutes Aiden Skinner, Luc Jones, Hugo Carldehn, Kaden Funk, Shaun Boucher and Mio Yamamoto kept the score against the Stars at 0-0. Brazilian Matheus Ambrozio fed a through ball to Jack Tolpinrud, who flew past the defence and walked around the keeper to slide the ball into the open net.
“The 1-0 win was satisfying, especially considering this team (Stars) would become the pool winner on the (tie) breaker,” said Grace. “Unfortunately, we became fourth in the pool due to the tiebreakers.”
The Stars went on to reach the provincial final, losing 2-0 to the Langley Fundamental Titans.
Kal began the tournament with two close opening-day defeats.
Grace’s 21-man squad – up considerably from the 11 they finished the Okanagan Championships with – started with a 2-0 loss against the 2017 silver medalists, Victoria’s St. Michael’s University School Blue Jags, then dominated North Vancouver’s Windsor Dukes but could not slot the ball into the back of the net, losing 1-0.
“We knew we would be seeded in a tough pool,” said Grace. “In the first four minutes against St Michael’s, we found ourselves down 2-0. We realized the speed with which we had to play and they were in a very competitive match. After losing 2-0, we knew we could play with the teams.
“We were back and forth with Windsor, narrowly missing on two breakaways by Ben Straight and Tolpinrud. As time was running down, Dan Herzberg missed on a great cross from Jack, and then Dan was blocked on a wonderful feed from Cole Johnson.
“In games like these, with missed opportunities, you know a tough goal will decide it. Sure enough, Windsor earned a corner and took a snapper shot that our goalie, Simon Disterhoft, saved. Unfortunately, the save hit one of our defenders in the backside and ricocheted into our net.”
The Lakers began the consolation round with a 5-3 win over Nelson’s L.V. Rogers Bombers.
Kal qualified for the provincials by beating Kamloops’ Valleyview Vikings 5-4 in penalty kicks in the Okanagan semifinal, then losing the final to the Sa-Hali Sabres of Kamloops with only 11 players.
The Sabres had a win and a draw in their first games of the provincials.