After four draws in four games, the Charles Hays Secondary School girls soccer team won their first game in a playday in Kitimat on the weekend.
The Rainmakers lost to a strong Smithers team 2-0 in what was their first decision in five games, then edged Kitimat 1-0 for their first win.
“I was worried about the players being tired but they kept the intensity the entire time. All 12 players contributed to make the win happen,” coach Mike Cavin said.
Only about half the girls made the trip to Kitimat for the two games under cloudy skies with on-and-off rain showers throughout the day.
Playing first against Smithers, the opposing team dominated possession in the first half by finding their open players with short and accurate passes. One striker was able to get a few hard shots away, two of which found the back of the net. However, she sustained an injury and didn’t play the rest of the game. After her departure, the CHSS players settled down, although they weren’t able to score on the Smithers goalie.
The second game was against Kitimat, which was a more physical match, according to the coach.
“During this game, CHSS displayed more intensity and right from the start, linked up passes to attack the Kitimat goal,” he said.
Emily Mair and Mantej Padda had several strong possessions, leading to good scoring opportunities. At the other end, Delaney Hebert and Emily Cavin were tasked with shutting down a Kitimat striker who had scored multiple goals against Hazelton the week before. They handled the job well, anticipating her passes and cutting them off.
In the second half of a scoreless game, Hebert spotted an open Harleen Randhawa just ouside Kitimat’s 18-yard line at the middle of the field.
“After controlling it, Randhawa sent a hard, low shot toward the corner of the Kitimat goalie which was too fast for the keeper to stop,” Cavin said.
Back and fourth play continued with chances at either end, but the Rainmakers celebrated the 1-0 win when all was said and done.
Cavin cited strong showings by Meghan Cunningham and Simran Padda as helpful, as well as strong goalkeeping from Kaiya Storey and Mantej Padda. He said both played well and had to make a few key saves in each game to keep the scores down.
This week in practice, the coach intends to help the girls improve on moving the ball up to open players or using players that are in a support position to release pressure or even gain an advantage.