Picture: Melissa Richardson (#5) goes high to get her head on a corner kick as Winsloe Charlottetown Royals FC took on Suburban FC of Nova Scotia at 2011 BMO Club National Championships. Other Royals include Jenna Jo McDonald, Kelsie Collier (#12) and Emily Boswall (#10).
It’s October ninth, sunshine, temperature in the mid twenties, another great day for soccer at the BMO Club National Championships in Fredericton, NB. You might wonder, what more could anyone ask? Well if you’re the Winsloe Charlottetown Royals FC U-18 Ladies team the answer is simple, a break.
The Island side was taking on Suburban FC, representing Nova Scotia in the final preliminary game for both teams at the championships. The Royals opened with spirited play leading to early opportunities for the PEI team. At just past 8 minutes, a momentary lapse created a Suburban chance and an early one nil lead. Winsloe continued to apply pressure and at the 22 minute mark their hard work paid off. Melissa Richardson beat a defender and NS keep, curling a shot just inside the far post. The Island fans began to celebrate when divine intervention struck. The ball caught the inside of the post and inexplicably bounced away from the goal.
Battling through adversity the Island squad mounted another attack. A non call in the NS box saw the play head the other way. As the Royal defender stripped the Suburban player of the ball, the referee whistled a phantom infraction awarding NS a free kick at the corner of the box. The ball was lofted high but found the head of a Nova Scotian and directed into the net. The second goal would be enough to break the back of many a strong man but not for this Winsloe team in blue. The resilient Royals regrouped and went back on the offensive, generating chances but no goals. With the half into extra time Winsloe put on one last flurry. Olivia Murphy, Lauren Myers, Jenna Jo McDonald and Melissa Richardson were all denied in attempts to find the back of the goal.
The Suburban fell into protect mode in the second half as the Royals fought to get on the score board. Laura Younker, pressed into 90 minutes of duty on the back line was the proverbial energizer bunny running tirelessly on the wing, breaking up passes and jumping into the attack. Fresh legs in Mai Ramsay and Madeline MacIntyre came on to support Richardson and McDonald in pursuit of the elusive score. But it was not to be on this day; the inspired play of the Island side was not rewarded for a second straight day.
If you were to look up heart and determination in the dictionary, there is sure to be a picture of this Winsloe Charlottetown team. And if you looked up admiration it would be a picture of the beaming parents, in awe of their daughters who threw everything into the game, leaving it all on the pitch. You may also find a picture of the team under snake bit, as once again they were denied a just fate. As the saying goes if they didn’t have bad luck they would have no luck at all. Knowing that the team’s not certain they want a break either, fearing it more likely would be an ankle or leg.
The Royals will get one last chance to crack the win column tomorrow when they play in the placement round. If the soccer gods see fit to provide a little justice, the Island ladies will have one more reason to be grateful on this Thanksgiving Day.