Determined effort key for soccer team

As is so often the case in any sport, hard work and a determined effort can lead a less-talented team to victory.
The Muskie boys’ soccer team, though blessed with its share of talent, used that hard-work formula en route to a third-place finish at the St. John’s Ravenscourt tournament in Winnipeg last weekend.
After finishing second in their pool with a 2-1 record, the Muskies pulled off a thrilling 1-0 victory over Dakota Collegiate, the second-place finishers in the other pool, in the third-place game Sunday.
Playing to a 0-0 draw through regulation time, both teams scored three goals during the five extra kicks session. Then Andy Hallikas netted the game-winner on the sixth shot (after Dakota missed its sixth attempt), to give the Muskies the well-earned victory.
“We knew [Dakota] would give us a tough game because, man-to-man, they were a well-skilled team,” said Muskie head coach Keith Gilbert. “More often, they were controlling the field but we made sure we got in their faces and interfered with their give-and-goes.”
Gilbert said the black-and-gold also got some big saves from veteran keeper Jordan Roy, who was named to the tournament all-star team along with teammate Daniel Ribeiro.
Ribeiro, a native of Brazil attending Fort High as an exchange student, continues to be a scoring threat for the Muskies, netting two goals in the tournament. He also had a hat trick in a 5-2 exhibition win over Rainy River here last Wednesday.
Ben Andrusco, a first-year assistant coach with the Muskies, said he was proud of the fact the black-and-gold often outworked Dakota, especially many of the rookies.
“I was really impressed with our guys because they knew they were up against a tougher, more skilled team,” he said. “I thought our rookies played well. A tournament like this will help us against teams like Dryden and Kenora.”
Gilbert noted the tournament also enabled the coaches to determine which players were betted suited for certain positions, allowing the Muskies to field a more stable lineup as they prepare for their NorWOSSA opponents in the coming weeks.
“It gave us some quality competition and made our guys work hard,” he said, adding he was impressed with the play of his defensive backs, particularly David Bond and Colin Wielinga.
Still, Gilbert admitted they will have to work on their set plays (i.e. corner kicks), which he said gave them trouble on both offence and defence in Winnipeg.
The Muskies opened play Friday night with a 2-0 shutout over Gordon Bell on goals by Terry LaBelle and Ribeiro. But then the black-and-gold were stopped 4-0 by eventual tournament champs Tec Voc on Saturday although Gilbert said the score didn’t really indicate the flow of the game.
In fact, the Muskies trailed just 1-0 with nine minutes to play before they were forced to open the game up offensively, resulting in several quality chances for Tec Voc–and three goals–in the final minutes.
The Muskies then earned a berth in the third-place game with a 1-0 shutout against Glenlawn Collegiate in a back-and-forth game that saw both teams have their share of chances.
Ribeiro scored the game-winner on a penalty kick to decide the outcome of that one.
The boys’ host an exhibition tournament this weekend against their NorWOSSA opponents, opening with a game Friday at 10 a.m. against Rainy River, followed by one against Kenora at 3 p.m.
They then play Red Lake at 9 a.m. Saturday and then Dryden at 4:30 p.m.