The Thomas Haney Thunder rolled its way to the top, winning the Grade 8/9 girls Fraser Valley soccer championship in Surrey on Thursday.
Tight defence and two goals within three minutes in the second half propelled the Thunder to a 3-1 win over Earl Marriott to claim the title.
Head coach Glenn Urquhart said his team really started to gel as the season progressed and its commitment to defence played a big role in capturing the championship.
“They probably played a better team game than we did,” admitted the coach. “But our girls really hung in together and played with more determination. We we’re really hard on the ball.”
The coach said it was great to see his team react so positively to playing such strong opposition.
Urquhart said for most of the season, his team was the one that dictated the play, so to not wilt in the face of stiffer opposition was testament to all the hard work they put in during the season.
He said the Thunder’s defence was lead by Annika Wilson.
“She’s such a strong player. She’s definitely the team leader back there,” said Urquhart.
He the team was lead offensively by Grade 8 striker Mackenzie Bermudaz, who had two goals in the final.
“That was Mackenzie’s best game of the year, no question,” he said. “The Grade 8s really lead this team offensively.”
Midfielder Cassidy Craig also had a strong game, said the coach, chipping in with the other tally.
He said having such a strong group of Grade 8 players complimented with a smaller but vocal Grade 9 leadership group is another reason the team was able to succeed.
“We didn’t play any of the Surrey teams this year, so we didn’t know really what to expect heading into the Valley’s,” said Urquhart. “But they were an exceptional group of girls to coach.”
The strong core of returning Grade 8s returning next year should set them up for another run at the title, said the coach. He also said the Grade 9 girls heading to senior play next year should be a boost to the team.