It was a busy soccer Friday at Fred Milne Park with both the men and womens’ div-1 teams taking to the field, neither returning to their respective locker rooms with a loss.
First up were the Pumas vs. the Bays United FC at 6 p.m. Sooke drew first blood with Siona Charlie-Rees burying the ball after the BUFC goalie misjudged it in midair. Moments later, Lawren Pallot put away a rebound off of a Taralyn Devocht shot that made it 2-0 before the first 20 minutes were up.
“We were causing constant pressure,” said Puma head coach Robin Saxl, who was experimenting with the lineup for the new season. The team picked up some new players during tryouts including new goalie Lydia Naomi. They needed the extra bodies, because number one sniper Brogan Boyer hit the ground awkwardly after a shot attempt that took her out for the rest of the game with a knee injury.
After the half, BUFC came alive and tied the game up 2-2. Saxl attributed the comeback to some substitution mismatches with the Victoria team but retook control in the last few minutes with captain Lindsay Jenkins scoring the winning third goal.
“We let (BUFC) push us in too much,” he said. “We were pinned in there for a while, our midfielders have to come front.”
Saxl, who has been president of the Sooke Soccer Club for the last four years, stepped up as coach of the Pumas this year after the team basically played without one last season. He said the immediate goal for his players is for them to get to know each other better.
“What we’re doing this week is we’re trying to challenge the team to gel as a team.”
The Celtic, whose core lineup is still largely intact, have no problem gelling. It was a chilly clear night but the men’s team heated up quickly scoring about 20 minutes in against Nanaimo United FC. Their goalie made a save off a free kick by player coach Steven Scott, but couldn’t stop the rebound that was put in by Doug Armstrong making it 1-0 before the half. The roaring sound of a chainsaw filled the air as the crowd of about 40 people hollered and hooted.
After the break, Sooke’s white and green stripes wouldn’t be able to solve the NUFC defence again and Nanaimo tied it up.
“It was a long ball into the box, it just kind of bounced away and two of their big guys backed into our goalie,” said Scott.
He said his team ran out of steam near the end because they had a week off of play due to the cancellation of last week’s game against Lakehill because of a last-minute schedule change. The Celtic were also missing centre back Pete McKay who is away until the end of the month after being called up to play for the Vancouver Island University Mariners soccer team.
Scott and his squad will be working on creating better chances and finishing on them for this Friday’s 7 p.m. home game against Gorge.
“That’s a big one for us for sure. Gorge is a good team.”