CORNWALL, P.E.I. – Charlottetown Rural High School added a pair of Prince Edward Island School Athletic Association (PEISAA) senior AAA soccer banners to its collection Saturday in Cornwall.
The Raiders defeated the Three Oaks Axewomen 1-0 in overtime in the girls’ final and beat the Westisle Wolverines 3-1 in the boys’ title game.
Mia Fradsham broke the deadlock and gave the Rural Raiders their fourth straight provincial girls’ title.
“It was kind of unreal,” the 17-year-old Marshfield resident said of the banner-winning goal. “I still, even a few minutes after, didn't really believe that it happened.”
Fradsham’s goal came in the first minute of the second 10-minute overtime half after neither team were able to beat keepers MaciLynn Ross (Rural) and Kyrsten Coyle (Three Oaks) for more than 100 minutes.
The Raiders controlled much of the play in the second half of regulation and had a few chances to score, but a couple went wide, and Coyle made a few key saves to keep the game scoreless.
“In games like this, they can get pretty stressful,” Fradsham said. “I think we were able to settle down and finish one.”
Rural coach Chuck Gallison said it was a sweet victory after the squad dealt with the adversity of injuries all season and it continued into Saturday’s championship game.
“They’re incredibly hard-working bunch of young ladies,” he said. “They play for each other and it shows when you do that you can accomplish a lot of very good things.”
He said the Axewomen play a very high tempo game and kept coming at them. When Three Oaks had chances, Ross rose to the occasion.
“She’s got a heart as big as they come,” Gallison said.
The Raiders defeated the Axewomen 4-2 on Oct. 17 in Summerside in the teams’ only meeting of the regular season.
“In the gold-medal game we came back with a new strategy to attack and defend more efficiently, and that made it a very tight game,” head coach Marta Irvine told the Journal Pioneer. “I’m so proud of our players. They played really well, and they should be proud of their effort. They played their best, they were really coachable players and we had a good season.”
Here are the previous five winners of the Prince Edward Island School Athletic Association senior AAA soccer banners:
2017 Charlottetown Rural
2016 Charlottetown Rural
2015 Charlottetown Rural
2014 Colonel Gray
2013 Colonel Gray
2016 Charlottetown Rural
2015 Colonel Gray
2014 Charlottetown Rural
2013 Colonel Gray
Fradsham said it was great to be able to finish the season with a win.
“This is what we were looking forward to and what we were building up to all season, so it’s a great end,” the Grade 12 student said, noting the closeness of the squad. “We basically all played together since we were very young.”
Emily Cormier and Maddy Cogswell joined some elite company on Saturday, becoming only the second and third players in Charlottetown Rural history to win three senior AAA girls’ banners. Maddie Hurley was the first to accomplish the feat last season.
Westisle’s Hayden Porter was tested often in the net in the boys’ final but was equal to the task on several occasions.
The third-ranked Raiders struck first on goals by Mathias McComb and Liam Jinks in the 34th and 40th minutes to go up 2-0 at the half. Riad Jaha made it 3-0 seven minutes into the second half and head coach Mark Caudle said the team was able to build a similar lead in its semifinal win.
“That’s huge,” he said. “It kind of takes the pressure off a little bit. The guys can relax and just do their thing and play with a little more freedom.”
Westisle’s Ethan Oliver broke up the shut-out bid off a free kick in the 84th minute to make it 3-1.
“We didn't give up,” said a proud Westisle coach, Kevin Porter. “That’s one thing about them – they’re not quitters. They came to play.”
The coach started with the first-seeded Wolverines three years ago and they have steadily improved. It made history Saturday by being the first squad in the school’s 38-year history to reach the boys’ senior AAA final.
“We had a great year,” he said.
While there are many seniors in the class, it does have quite a few Grade 11s and three rookies able to return next year and more young players coming up through the ranks.
“Hopefully this is something we can build on,” the head coach said, pointing to a good club program in the western part of the province. “I think that’s really added to the school program. . . It’s helped our kids develop.”
Caudle has coached a number of his players with the P.E.I. F.C. provincial team and was with them at nationals in Laval, Que., earlier this year.
“They’re a great bunch of boys,” he said. “They all deserve (Saturday’s victory). They put the work in year-round.”
Caudle was particularly pleased to see Emmett Lyons and Colby Smith, who were with the squad when Rural won in Grade 10, be able to end their high school soccer careers with another banner.