By Jenifer Wilson, Special to Courier-Islander March 3, 2010
A soggy Echo Park Field in Port Alberni was the scene of an early game Sunday, as Marine Harvest took to the field for the U17 boy’s soccer final of the North Island Cup and came home with a well-deserved 3-0 victory.
The scoring opened in the third minute, when Campbell River’s Zach Hamilton took a corner kick. Shane Dumanoir received the pass, battered it at the Port Alberni defence, who deflected the ball back to Dumanoir and he converted his own rebound.
The next 15 minutes saw great play by Marine Harvest. Samuel Jepson, Wyatt Bryce and Dumanoir demonstrated some clever triangular passes in the Alberni 18-yard box.
Iain Wilson, playing in right back, passed in a couple of lovely arcing balls, which Jepson, perfectly placed, was just unable to convert. Neil Pomeroy made some great defensive intercepts to keep the ball in the Port Alberni half.
Ben Perrault and Shane Berry, both having very effective games, were rock solid in centre defence, forming a tight and mostly impenetrable unit.
The next Marine Harvest goal was at the 20-minute mark, when Jepson’s free kick was dropped cleverly over the Port Alberni defence to Dumanoir, whose blistering angled shot smacked into the back of the net: precisely according to the coaches’ directions!
The next few minutes saw a change in the direction of play, and Marine Harvest keeper Chris Erickson made two terrific saves. Erickson commanded the box with a particularly effective diving catch, when he plucked the ball confidently out of the air.
The third Campbell River goal came in the final minute of the half, when Hamilton passed to Dumanoir, who controlled and tapped the ball home to complete his natural hat-trick.
In the second half, Port Alberni came out hard, keen to get on the scoresheet. The play was frequently broken up and it seemed that the players couldn’t settle into a rhythm. As in the first half, Marine Harvest had many chances that went awry or narrowly missed the net.
Marine Harvest’s Justin Gjerde gave a fine display of solid clever play in the midfield. Gabriel Lessard made several splendid runs at full speed, working tenaciously to keep possession of the ball. Colton Reesor demonstrated persistent defense with style as he made an excellent contribution to the afternoon’s victory.
Braiden Gunn cleverly converted defence into attack as he retrieved then passed the ball back beautifully to the front line. Erik Christensen showed verve and confidence in a nice little back-heel pass that confused the Port Alberni attack and cleverly redirected the play. Malcolm Maundrell brought passion and intensity to the game as he went to the attack with little regard for his own wellbeing.
“Marine Harvest FC retained their grip on the North Island Cup with their fifth championship in six years,” said Marine Harvest head coach John Jepson. “Alberni proved a decent challenge, but the boys played a strong physical game and moved the ball about in unselfish and intelligent manner.
“Preparations continue over the next two weeks, as we ready ourselves for the biggest game of the year when we entertain Lakehill of Victoria (March 21) for the battle to attend the Provincial championship. The two teams have played in this South vs. North game on two previous occasions. In 2005, Marine Harvest FC won a wonderful game (3-2) and last year we won a real nailbiter 1-0!
“The two teams did meet in exhibition play in November with Lakehill winning 1- 0.”
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