The Avalon Ford Crusaders claimed a bronze medal at Soccer Canada’s Jubilee Trophy championship in Surrey, B.C., giving Newfoundland and Labrador its first-ever podium finish at the national senior women’s soccer championship.
Holy Cross was guaranteed at least a bronze after topping its preliminary-round pool, but Monday’s 3-0 loss to eventual champion Edmonton Victoria of Alberta denied the Newfoundland champions a higher finish. Nevertheless, head coach Jake Stanford expressed admiration for the way his players performed this week in suburban Vancouver.
“We started this year with the goal of winning the (provincial) Jubilee Trophy and coming away with a medal at nationals and that’s what we’ve done,” said Stanford, “ so I can’t say that I’m anything but proud of this team.
“We’ll enjoy this and celebrate what we’ve done and then we’ll start to work on getting back here and coming away with an even better medal next year.”
Holy Cross had started its schedule with preliminary-round wins over the Quebec and Saskatchewan champions, outscoring their opponents 8-1 in the process. But the Newfoundland representatives didn’t score a goal in the three-team medal round, getting shut out 1-0 by host Surrey on Saturday before being blanked by Edmonton on Monday.
Surrey and Edmonton had played to a 2-2 tie in their medal-round meeting, but the Albertans claimed gold by virtue of a better goal differential.
“Hats off to them, they were the better team today,” said Stanford of the new national champs. “They did outplay us, but still it was nice to see Newfoundland playing in a big game that meant something.”
The best previous result by a team representing the province at the national Jubilee Trophy competition was a fourth-place finish by a C.B.S. Kirby United in 2014 in Vaughan, Ont.
Holy Cross was one of six Newfoundland teams participating in Toyota national soccer championships this week, but the only one that made it into medal contention.
Stanford expressed hope that Holy Cross’s medal win at the national senior women’s championship will provide some positive impetus to Newfoundland and Labrador teams at future Canadian championships, whatever the age-gender division.
“As a province, we need to build on this. We just can’t let this be a one-off,” he said.
Members of the Holy Cross team include Alyssa Armstrong, Anna Aucoin, Jennifer Bent, Jaime Crocker, Julie Crocker, Connie Lewis, Maria Mackey, Teri Murphy, Jessie Noseworthy, Jessie, Holly O'Neill, Jane Pope, Melissa Reid, Noelle Stanford, Lauren Taylor, Nicole Torraville, Paula Whitten, Spencer Wilkins and Keisha Younge.
Joining Stanford on the coaching staff are assistant Paul Mullett and manager Geena Oxford.
Other national soccer results for NL
At the Challenge Cup national senior men’s championship, also contested in Surrey, B.C., the Holy Cross Kirby Group men were seventh, but finished strongly Monday with a 6-1 seeding-round win over the Fredericton, N.B., Picaroons.
Jacob Grant, with three goals, Jake Warren, Alex Dolomount and Mitchell Barry scored Monday for Holy Cross, which went 1-3 in the preliminary round.
St. John’s teams representing Newfoundland at the U-15 nationals in Vaughan, Ont., also had positive results on the final day.
The girls’ team (1-1-0 in the preliminary round) finished fifth by virtue of a 1-0 win over Saskatchewan, with Ashley O’Neill coming off the bench to score the goal and Amanda Pearcey recording the shutout. It was the second straight 1-0 win in the seeding round for the St. John’s team, which had blanked Kitchener, Ont., on Saturday as Camryn Bonia provided the tally and Pearcey came up with the whitewash in goal.
Newfoundland’s boys U15 side was ninth, but posted three wins in the 9-through-12 seeding round, including a 2-0 win over New Brunswick Monday. In that one, Dylan Hartson and Owen Sheppard registered markers to support the shutout netminding of Kevin Fenwick.
In Fredericton, N.B., at the national U17 boys championships, Newfoundland, represented by Feildians, wound up sixth, losing 2-0 to Halifax in a seeding game Monday after going 1-2-1 in the preliminary round. In the Canadian girls’ U17 tourney, also held in Fredericton, St. John’s lost to the host team on penalty kicks on Monday to finish eighth. The Newfoundland side was 1-3-0 in the preliminary round.
Story edited to include Anna Aucoin as a member of Holy Cross senior women's team