Boys soccer team win regional playdowns
© Submitted photo
The Ascension Collegiate Astros boys' soccer team recently won the AAA regional playdowns. The Astros beat Laval High of Placentia 2-1 in the championship game to earn a ticket to the provincial championships in Springdale on Oct. 2-4. Members of the team are: front (l-r) — Brady Power, Adam Oates, Willy Hayes, Josh Barrett, Taylor Norman, Michael King and Brent Kenny; back — Patrick Tarrant, Kyle Vokey, Brandon Moriarity, Bradley Riggs, Michael Power, Lucas Roberts, Evan Oates and Kyle Cronin. Missing from photo is coach Richard Marshall.
The Ascension Collegiate male soccer team will be travelling to the AAA provincial tournament next weekend in Springdale.
The Astros earned the right to contend for a provincial banner by defeating Laval High of Placentia 2-1 in the championship game of the regional playdowns in a dramatic and exciting match.
The provincial tournament will be hosted by Indian River High on Oct. 2-4. Also participating in the tournament will be St. Lawrence Academy, Stephenville High, Menihek High School in Labrador City and Exploits Valley High in Grand Falls-Windsor.
The Astros dominated the competition at regional play, outscoring opponents 13-4.
Head coach Richard Marshall said the championship game was a tight one.
“They did well,” he said.
Laval took an early 1-0 lead halfway through the first half. However, in the 30th minute, Astros player Willy Hayes evened up the score.
It would remain 1-1 for the rest of regulation.
In extra time, Hayes again was the difference, notching the winning goal five minutes into the first overtime period.
Keeper Josh Barrett also had a hand in the victory, notching several key saves at opportune times.
Heading into the tournament, Marshall said the team did not have a lot of practice time. This was offset by the team's overall athletic ability, said Marshall.
“There are some strong athletes on the team, and a lot of multi-sport players,” he said. “They’re easily coachable.”
The Astros kicked off the tournament with a convincing 4-0 victory over Carbonear Collegiate.
The team followed that up with a 9-0 thumping of Crescent Collegiate, located in Blaketown, before dropping the round-robin finale to Laval 3-2.
"It felt good to see all of the hard work pay off," Hayes said of winning the regional banner.
Heading to provincials
Marshall expects his squad to be “competitive against any team.”
“We have a lot of seniors on our team, and quite frankly, it is their last opportunity to do well,” he said. “They should have the maturity, the size and the strength to do as well as possible.”
Marshall has provincial championship experience. Originally from Burin, he captured a provincial soccer championship in 1994 with Father Berney Memorial High School in Burin. Marshall also has Challenge Cup experience.
The trip to Springdale will be the second straight trip to provincials for the team. At last year’s event, the team captured the sportsmanship award.
Familiarity breeds winning
Many of the players with the Ascension team have played together for the majority of their careers.
They are a part of the Conception Bay North Lightning soccer club.
“It was a proud moment for the CBN Lightning because this is the first group of boys we brought through our system over the past eight years,” said Lightning president Robert Tarrant.
This familiarity has obviously had a positive impact on the Astros team.
“A few of us have been playing together since Level I, and it felt good to beat (Laval) this year,” said Hayes.