The Rossland Secondary School Royals senior girls soccer team got off to a promising start on Thursday winning 2-1 in dramatic fashion over St. Ann’s to open the B.C. Single-A senior girls high school championship, and following that up with a 3-nil victory over Fraser Lake.
In the opening match, the game was deadlocked at 1-1 with just over a minute to play in regulation, when RSS was awarded a corner kick.
Kayla Zimmer took the kick and bent the ball over the defender, as Jeanine McKay burst into the crease directing it home for the second goal and eventual 2-1 victory.
The Royals trailed St. Ann’s Academy from Kamloops 1-0 heading into the second half, after an RSS goal was called back due to an offside.
“We were slow (in the first half),” said Royals coach Rick McKinnon. “We had to pick up the speed a little, challenge for the ball.”
RSS dominated the second half, with Jaala Derochie sending the ball over the bar on one attempt, then after a brilliant move around a defender, her right-footer from just outside the 18-foot mark skidded desperately by the left post.
The Royals would find the equalizer at the midway point, when a Zimmer corner kick was knocked down deftly by McKay right to Kaycee McKinnon who finished it, sending the ball to the back of the net to tie the match at 1-1.
The Royals’ midfield and defenders thwarted St. Ann’s offence at every turn, as the Kamloops team could not manage a shot on goal in the second half.
The Royals continued to press relentlessly, generating scoring chances on strong runs up the flanks by McKinnon and Zimmer, and stretching the Academy’s defence to give McKay and Derochie ample opportunity on the inside.
It would prove the difference, as St. Ann’s was repeatedly forced to clear the ball setting up the RSS corners.
Zimmer, who had hit the post on a previous attempt, would also be named player of the game for her assists on the two goals.
“I feel pretty good, I’m pretty proud of our team too, it was a team effort definitely out there,” she said.
It was the first time the Royals faced St. Ann’s this year, and after some initial nerves the team was able to settle down and play their game.
“I was a lot worried (at the half),” said McKinnon. “They were a good team and we aren’t use to playing hard teams right now, so it was a good victory for them (RSS).”
Emile Bartle was named player of the match for St. Anns.
In Rossland’s win against Fraser Lake, the Royals received goals from Jill Armour, Zimmer, and McKinnon in the 3-0 victory.
RSS plays at noon today against Pemberton at the RSS field. With a win they will advance to the semifinal played later today at 4 p.m. in Rossland.
The winner advances to the final scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at the RSS field.