Blue Devils atop girls soccer standings, rankings

There was more at stake in last Wednesday’s senior girls high school soccer match between the Dr. Charles Best Blue Devils and the Riverside Rapids than just first place in the Fraser Valley North standings.

The Blue Devils were also defending their ascent earlier in the week to the top-ranked team in the province.

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But Best coach Alfonso Napoletano said he didn’t let that distract his charges en route to their 3-1 victory that also preserves the Blue Devils’ unblemished record in four matches.

“It’s flattering,” Alfonso said of the provincial ranking. “But that’s not what’s really important to us or what motivates us.”

Alfonso said his team, which has scored 20 goals while allowing just two thus far, continues to focus on getting a top seed in the Fraser Valley playoffs as a springboard to provincials.

“Our team’s mindset is ‘one game and one mission at a time,’” he said.

Best took a 2-0 lead in the first half on goals by Marina Verones and Valerie Silva. But the Rapids were able to cut that in half when Grade 10 forward Kelsey Stewart connected with about 15 minutes until full time.

Verones then put the game out of reach 10 minutes later with her second goal of the match.

“We demonstrated great intensity in our play,” Napoletano said of the Blue Devils’ effort.

Meanwhile, Riverside coach Kenny Jamieson reflected on what could have been had his side not been hobbled by the absence of four starters.

“We were thoroughly impressed with our other girls who stepped up to fill the voids,” he said, as the Rapids suffered their first defeat of the season, that also includes a tie against second-place Centennial, which thumped Heritage Woods 6-1. Port Moody secondary beat the Terry Fox Ravens, 3-2, in the other match.

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