First mission accomplished for the Dr. Charles Best Blue Devils senior girls soccer team.
Now it’s on to the next.
The Blue Devils’ 1-1 draw against the defending provincial champions, Centennial Centaurs, secured Best top place in the Fraser Valley North standings with a record of five wins and a tie. That’s two points better then their rivals from just down Como Lake Avenue, who had four wins and two ties.
Blue Devils’ coach Alfonso Napoletano, who's been approaching the season on a mission-by-mission basis, said the result affirms his charges’ belief in themselves.
“Every time we face off against Centennial, we know it’s going to be a battle and a test of how well we can play with the best,” he said.
Best opened the scoring about 13 minutes into the match, but 12 minutes later Centennial’s Birlyne Dionne headed Kiara Buono’s free kick past the Blue Devils’ keeper to get the teams on even terms. From there, the match became a game of chess as Centennial pressed time and again for ways to penetrate a wall of Charles Best defenders.
“They knew they just needed a draw and defended with numbers,” said Centennial coach Larry Moro, adding the result was a disappointment as a divisional title had also eluded his charges last season.
But that worked out quite well for the Centennials, who went on to win the Fraser Valley and provincial championships.
Moro said Monday’s setback could provide a similar motivational boost.
“It’s just what we needed to get us ready for Fraser Valleys,” he said, adding his team will have to get its intensity level and work ethic in sync if they’re to find success.
Napoletano said the two home games the Blue Devils gain with a higher seeding in the Fraser Valleys will help propel the team to accomplish its next mission, qualifying for provincials.
“Our team feels good,” he said.
Moro said the Centaurs have some work ahead of them if they’re to get there as well.
“We always seem to create a number of chances, but we need to be more clinical around the goal,” he said.
Riverside secondary and the Heritage Woods Kodiaks, who finished third and fourth in the league standings, also qualified for Fraser Valleys. Seedings for that regional tournament will be determined on Friday, with the first matches scheduled for Monday.