Blue Devils clawed by Moscrop Panthers in district soccer final

To say the first Fraser North Athletic Association AAA senior boys soccer championship didn’t go according to plan for the Dr. Charles Best Blue Devils would be an understatement, said the team’s coach, Dave Jones.

The Blue Devils lost to the Moscrop Panthers, from Burnaby, 4-1, last Thursday at Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park. The match was the first championship meeting between teams in the association created by a realignment of competitive zones by BC School Sports.

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And while that brought a certain air of unfamiliarity amongst the opponents, Jones said he was impressed with what he saw.

“Moscrop had some strong athletic and technically skilled players,” he said. “Their speed up front was good, which we expected, but our team did not adjust defensively.”

That cost Best an early 1-0 deficit and then their organizational problems at the back end were compounded by successive injuries to two of the team’s centre backs. That gave Moscrop’s Pouria Maghali the opportunity to score his second and third goals of the half, giving the visitors a 3-0 advantage at the break.

Jones said he was heartened by the team’s heart to try to battle back in the second half, but the hole was just too deep. The Blue Devils managed to get one goal back, but only after Moscrop’s Daniel Milkovic had staked the Panthers’ lead to 4-0.

Both teams advance to the provincial championships, that begin at the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex Nov. 21. They’ll be joined by the Terry Fox Ravens, who defeated the Port Moody Blues, 6-1, to take third place in the district final.

Jones said he remains optimistic about his side’s chances, despite the setback to the Panthers.

“We are a much better team than the score reflected,” he said. “There is a core group of seniors that have demonstrated great leadership and a never-quit attitude.”

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