Heading into the showdown between their undefeated teams, the coaches of the Centennial Centaurs and Terry Ravens knew their charges faced the toughest test of the young Fraser North senior boys' high school soccer season.
It was the Ravens who took flight as Rio Yoshida scored late to give the Port Coquitlam school a 2-1 win over their Coquitlam Rivals. It was Fox's third victory in as many matches and the Centaurs’ first loss in four games, leaving the teams tied atop the league standings with nine points apiece.
Terry Fox coach John Murphy said the result was testimony to his team’s resilience when the Ravens gave up the tying goal with about 12 minutes left after the Centaurs had controlled play through much of the second half.
“It was like a wakeup call, so to speak,” Murphy told The Tri-City News, adding his team then took command of the play and started creating scoring chances.
The renewed effort paid off when Yoshida was able to take advantage of a defensive lapse with just a few minutes left until full time, blasting an uncontested shot from about 25 yards out that skipped through Centennial keeper Dominic Parolin.
Centaurs’ coach Kevin Comeau said, despite the loss, he was pleased with his team’s effort, especially after they were outplayed and outscored, 1-0, by Fox in the first half.
“We challenged our guys at half time to keep the ball more and support our strikers in our attack,” Comeau said, adding Parolin had given his mates a fighting chance with a couple of big saves in the first half.
In fact, the result could just as easily gone the other way, Comeau said, after Jonathan Reis narrowly missed the left corner of the net with a 20-yarder when the score was still tied.
Fox coach John Murphy said his team had to dig deep following a long slog at last week’s Best of the Best tournament in Chilliwack, where the Ravens defeated Sardis in the final after 11 rounds of penalty kicks.
He said he was particularly impressed by the strong performances of his back line players, Sean Wotherspoon, Bailey and Cole Newton as well as Nick Lopes, while Ighsaan Mohamed worked to control the midfield.
Andrew Cerqueira scored the Ravens’ first goal, while Dante Bandiera connected for Centennial.