CHSS girls soccer graduating players from the 2017 team include (from left to right) Miah Hardy, Akemi Storey, Britanny Waite and Meghan Cunningham. Brittany Waite photo.

Rainmakers place second in hard-fought zones

The team fell just short of winning it all, placing second after a loss to the Smithers Gryphons

Charles Hays Secondary School’s girls soccer Rainmakers dominated the Caledonia Kermodes in Game One of their final weekend of play at the Northwest Zone Championships, but they fell just short of winning it all, placing second overall after a loss to the Smithers Secondary Gryphons.

This past Saturday, the Charles Hays (CHSS) Rainmakers travelled to Smithers to take on both Caledonia (CAL) and Smithers (SSS) for the right to win the 2017 zones banner.

The second-seeded ’Makers challenged the third-seeded Kermodes in Game One at 10 a.m., and Reagan Pomponio finished off a tic-tac-toe play involving herself, and standount forwards Emily Mair and Brittany Waite.

“Twenty minutes into the half, forward Emily Mair was able to take the ball away from a Terrace defender near the side of the 18-yard line and then passed to an open Brittany Waite.

The Terrace goalie came out to challenge Waite, who then made a pass to Reagan Pomponio, who had been left unmarked in front of the goal. Pomponio tapped the ball into the net to open the scoring,” said Mike Cavin, head coach of the team.

Both teams traded chances and offensive pushes early in the game and into the second half, with CAL’s best chance coming late in the match as a Kermode labelled a shot for the top corner above goalie Kaiya Storey.

The Rainmakers netminder made a diving save to keep her shutout alive, and the Rupertites prevailed when the final whistle blew, 1-0.

Storey and defender Mantej Padda were named players of the game.

“Padda was recognized for consistently stopping the Terrace forwards on the right side of the field and then moving the ball up to her teammates,” Cavin said.

The Smithers Gryphons tied the Kermodes 1-1 in the zones’ Game Two, setting up a winner take all match between the Gryphons and Rainmakers in the final match.

At 4 p.m., the match began with a strong Gryphons team making use of home field advantage and capitalizing on their chances early versus the coastal visitors.

A 1-0 lead heading into the second frame grew to 4-0 by game’s end, with a “stingy” Smithers defence wiping out the Rainmakers’ offense. One forward scored twice for the Gryphons, ending the ’Makers championship hopes.

Players of the game for Rupert were Simran Padda and Delaney Hebert.

“Padda played a central defender role for most of the season and was recognized on Saturday for her ability to win one-on-one tackles and control incoming chips before sending the ball up to the midfielders.

Hebert was recognized for working tirelessly throughout the game. As a midfielder she helped out at both ends of the field and could be counted on to take the ball away from the Smithers forwards or helping lead offensive pushes,” Cavin added.

The team will return much of their second-place squad next year, as only four Rainmakers graduate, with all providing a vital role on the team – Miah Hardy, Akemi Storey, Meghan Cunningham and Waite.