Taggs, Manitou bring home bronze
It wasn’t the game they wanted to be in, but two local squads made the most of their final soccer showdowns last night at the Struchan Gilson pitches.
Taggs Source for Sports doubled Al’S Racquet Stringing 4-2 in the bronze-medal game for the women’s division of the Borderland Soccer League, while Manitou Forest Products blasted La Place Rendez-Vous Voyageurs U-18 by a 7-2 count to snag the men’s division bronze.
In the 22nd minutes, a turnover by Al’s in its own 18-yard box led to Courtney Roach looping a kick over the head of goalkeeper Phyllis Pierson to give Taggs a 1-0 lead.
Six minutes later, Sara Roach broke free on the right wing and hammered a shot from 15 yards out past Pierson for a two-goal edge heading into halftime.
Al’s came out with determination after the break and cut the lead in half in the 50th minute, as Nina Barnard found the back of the net. But Taggs responded eight minutes later when Rebecca Selman connected to make it 3-1.
To make things worse, shortly thereafter, Al’s found themselves two players short again when Carla Penner had to leave the game with a knee injury. But the underdogs, who won only once this season, refused to surrender.
Barnard put the ball home during a scramble in front of the Taggs net for her second of the contest in the 75th minute to set up what looked like it would be a dramatic finish. But Taggs, who had one substitute available the entire game to allow for different players to rest throughout the game, controlled the ball for the majority of the final 15 minutes against a quickly-tiring Al’s side.
Just before the final whistle was sounded at the end of the 90th minute, Wynonna Kavanaugh unleashed a blast from 10 yards out that snuck inside the right post to give Taggs its final margin of victory.
In the men’s bronze final, Manitou unleashed its frustration on their younger Voyageur opponents after losing Tuesday’s semifinal to Senior Pharmasave on penalty kicks.
The blue-clad Manitou side rolled like a tidal wave, scoring early and often against La Place Rendez-Vous and also having several other offensive chances whistled down due to being offside.
Kyle Herr scorched the Voyageurs for a hat trick in the game, while Chris Sinclair contributed a pair of markers. Chris Faragher and league scoring champion Ahamadou Idrissou added singles for the winners, while Tyler Ruppenstein and Jacob Bolzan replied for the Voyageurs.
Tonight, it will be gold on the line starting at 6:30 p.m., with the top two teams in the regular season for both divisions squaring off for league bragging rights.
The women’s title game will see regular-season champion La Place Rendez-Vous Voyageurs, coming off an 8-1 drubbing of Al’s in Tuesday’s semifinal, taking on second-place Boston Pizza, who blanked Taggs 2-0 in the other semifinal.
Boston Pizza will be fighting an uphill battle against the Voyageurs due to injuries knocking out or hobbling several of their key players, with a strong possibility the squad may not be able to field a full lineup tonight.
Among those sidelined for tonight is second-leading goal scorer and top defensive player Colleen Hogan, who was seen on crutches at last night’s games nursing a severely-strained knee tendon in Tuesday’s semifinal after taking an accidental misstep while trying to make a play on the ball.
That means more pressure on league scoring leader Laureen Peters (30 goals), who scored the insurance goal in Tuesday’s semifinal and will be even more the focus of the Voyageurs’ defensive plan.
Jessica Wilson, who had Boston Pizza’s other goal on Tuesday, may also miss tonight’s game after being injured blocking a shot in the semifinal.
La Place Rendez-Vous were unstoppable against Al’s on Tuesday, racing to a 5-0 halftime lead featuring two goals from league scoring runner-up Jess Caul. Her first marker, which gave the Voyageurs a 2-0 lead, was a highlight-reel effort which saw Caul dance around and between two defenders near midfield before breaking away and firing on goal, then collecting her own rebound and driving it home.
Maryam Seid had two late goals for La Place Rendez-Vous, while Angel McCormack, Hailey Beaudry, Maggie Jean and Angela Cole chipped in with singles. Penner had the lone goal for Al’s in the loss.
Senior Pharmasave, which was nosed out for first place by International Travel Services on the final night of the regular season, will try and exact its revenge in the men’s championship game.
Jeremy Nussbaumer led the Senior Pharmasave attack this season with 14 goals, but will have to be at his best to counteract an ITS attack which balanced its scoring through its lineup this year and also boasts the league’s top goalkeeper in the regular season, Ben Whitburn (6-1-1 record with five shutouts).
Following the championship games, the league will hand out its year-end individual awards at the soccer shack besides the pitches.