Muskie girls happy with OFSAA play

It was a successful season for the Muskies girls’ soccer team—a NorWOSSA championship, an NWOSSAA silver medal, and a trip to the all-Ontarios.
“Overall, we’re happy,” said head coach Struchan Gilson, who will retire this year after 19 years of coaching the team. “We’re getting closer.”
The black-and-gold successfully competed with the best teams from around the province at Sudbury, finishing round-robin play with an 0-1-2 mark to wind up third in Pool ‘C’—just missing a berth in the quarter-finals.
The team’s first game last Thursday morning was their worst—a 6-0 loss to St. Mary’s (Woodstock). Falling behind 4-0 gave Gilson the chance to play all the girls.
“The first game was interesting,” he remarked. “It was 1-0 after a minute, 3-0 after 10 minutes. As soon as they made it 4-0, we put everyone in.
“It was just nerves, terrible nerves.”
In their second game that afternoon, the Muskies battled Jean Vanier Catholic High School (Collingwood) to a 2-2. Kate Basaraba scored both goals for Fort High.
“We dominated play, I thought,” said Gilson. “It’s either there or it isn’t.”
The Muskies had numerous chances on goal, but just couldn’t get the ball in the net, he recalled.
Their third game Friday morning—a must-win against Timmins High and Vocational School if they hoped to advance to the quarter-finals—turned on a fluke play.
After Hillary Morgan scored in the first minute, the Blues proceeded to play a kick-and-chase game, said Gilson.
When Megan Canfield fell and torn her hamstring, the team relaxed, expecting Timmins to kick the ball out of bounds so she could get medical attention.
Instead, they went down the field and scored, said Gilson.
The game continued after Canfield was taken to hospital, but neither team would capitalize again.
“If we had won those two games, we would have gone on to play St. Ignatius [Thunder Bay] in the quarter-finals,” Gilson noted.
The Falcons, who won NWOSSAA gold by edging the Muskies here 1-0 a week ago Saturday, went on to capture the OFSAA crown.
It was their second-straight trip to the provincial final, having settled for silver a year ago.
The St. Ignatius boys’ team also won the provincial title, taking top honours last weekend in North Bay. As a result, NWOSSAA will be able to send two reps in both the boys’ and girls’ divisions to the all-Ontarios next year.
That bodes well for the Muskie squads advancing to OFSAA should they win their respective NorWOSSA titles in 2005—certainly something to think about during the off-season.
The girls’ team will lose seven players, but both MVP Kate Basaraba and keeper Leanne Kaemingh will be back.
“They have some experience now,” Gilson said. “They want to go back [to OFSAA].”
Caroline Spencer has agreed to take over the head coaching reins next season while Gilson will stay with on as an assistant.
“Tammy [McLean], Char [Bliss], and Caroline did a wonderful job, they’re critical to what we do,” said Gilson, who was called away in the middle of the playoffs due to a death in the family.
“I’m going to drop to the bottom of the pile.”