Camrose Soccer dominates Night Classic
U15 Camrose Vikings (Thompson) Xavier McDougall scores on a penalty kick past Wetaskiwin Warriors goalie Alex Bye during the Camrose Night Classic in Camrose on Sunday. Josh Aldrich/Camrose Canadian
Vengeance is theirs.
The Camrose Vikings U15 boys (Befus) soccer team got has exacted some revenge for a provincial gold defeat from last summer. The team beat the Vermilion Strikers 2-0 in the gold medal game in the U15 boys' C Division of the Camrose Night Classic on Sunday. What was more important than revenge however, was gaining confidence that they could beat their northeastern rivals.
They had lost in the round robin portion of the tournament 2-1 to Vermilion but bounced back when it mattered most.
"I said to my boys 'Today we need two Rs: redemption and resilience' and they played pretty good," said head coach Lowell Befus, adding it was the second gold medal in two weeks for the club after winning a tournament in Edmonton the previous week. "To come out and beat that team was very satisfying for us and the kids were very happy.
"The boys seeing that they got overt that hump at the end and seeing that they can play with the top teams out there, it bodes well for confidence and we are looking forward to provincial qualifying here in three weeks time."
The team is currently sitting tied atop the Central Alberta Soccer Association standings, tied with another Camrose team, coached by Andy Thompson. Team Thompson also won gold at the Night Classic, beating Wetaskiwin 3-0 in the Pool A final.
"Because it is our home tournament, it's always nice, it takes a lot of organization and we like seeing everyone come out here," said Thompson. "Living in Camrose we are very blessed with some of the best fields in Central Alberta, so it's always a pleasure to play on these, it really allows the teams to plays. It's good to play so many teams from around the province."
Both teams are heading into the final three weeks before provincials with a lot of confidence. Team Befus is built around their offence as they have scored a league-high 35 goals during the regular season. At the Night Classic, Camrose had the three top scorers in their pool, Isaac Swanson with five, Henok Sexton with four and Aidan Peake with three. However, their coach is not concerned about the old axiom that defence wins championships.
"We do have a strong defence to, but at the provincial level, it takes some adjustment to get used to the style that we're playing," said Befus. "We come pretty aggressive on to the player and getting those strikes on net so that we can do better in those types of situations."
Team Thompson, meanwhile, is a well rounded team with the best goal differential in CASA at plus-19. Part of this is due to the play of their goalie Declan Kavgadoulis. In four games at the Night Classic he allowed one goal. Meanwhile, Thompson striker Xavier McDougall led the pool with five goals.
"I have one of the best if not he best goalkeeper in the league, I've had the pleasure of working with him for a few seasons," said Thompson. "As an ex-goalkeeper myself it makes you feel proud of how well he has done."
The U15 boys teams were just one of the many successes for the Camrose and District Soccer Association. All 15 teams from Camrose either won their division or finished on the podium, including the U15 girls who won all four of their games by a combined 18-5 margin.
The U11 boys Pool A featured an all-Camrose final with Team Osterwalder edging McClatry/Wright 2-1. In Pool B, Team Gamble fell 5-4 to the Bentley Big Horns in the gold medal game following a perfect 3-0 record in the round robin. In U-11 girls', Camrose finished with a silver medal in a round robin event.
In U13 girls' Pool A, the Camrose finished with a bronze medal, while in U13 boys' Pool B Team Gendreau finished third overall.
In U17, Team Bridger won gold in the boys' tournament with a 2-1 win over Stettler in the final. In girls' division, Camrose topped the Hinton Hurricanes 4-1 in the final for the gold medal.
Camrose also added a silver medal in the U19 men's division after falling 2-1 to St. Paul in Sunday's final.
It is a familiar refrain for soccer in Camrose this season as they have dominated CASA as well, with most division and age groups are lead by a Vikings club.
"It was fantastic for local soccer," said CDSA president Chad Mitchell. "
Up next for local soccer teams are provincials and provincial qualifying in Ponoka. Tier IV provincials will be split between three communities this year on July 6-8 weekend, Carstairs is hosting U13, St. Paul is hosting U15 and U19 and Camrose is hosting U17.
The Night Classic included 111 teams mostly from across Alberta, including one team from Saskatchewan and one from Manitoba. The tournament required the support of a lot of sponsors and volunteers, said Mitchell, as well as understanding from neighbours while games were being played into the wee hours of the morning.
The fields also took a pounding with soccer going around the clock, but Mitchell said they held up well, despite the rain on Friday.