The New Westminster Hyacks are chomping at the bit to take the high school senior girls soccer season to the next level.
It’s been in limbo essentially since April 16, when the team last took to the pitch against an opponent. Sidelined for the past two weeks due to forfeits by opposing clubs, New West is gearing up for next week’s league final, May 7 at Burnaby Lake West complex.
Although they won the regular season with a 4-0 record, New West in fact has only had a couple of league games due to other teams’ roster issues.
Alpha cancelled twice due to injuries and healthy numbers. Burnaby North was in the same predicament in their scheduled second game against the Hyacks. Burnaby Mountain has withdrawn from the playoffs due to a numbers problem.
Although it isn’t exactly fake news, the regular season title doesn’t mean what it used to, New West’s coach mused.
“it looks like we are undefeated, which is true, but we've only played two games and the rest of the wins have all been because the other teams have forfeited due to injuries or lack of player commitment,” remarked Hyacks coach Wayne McCarthy. “Throw in the schools that folded their teams and it's been a very frustrating season.”
The league, which is composed of schools in a fairly strong soccer market, fielded just four teams. Teams from Moscrop, Cariboo Hill, Burnaby Central and Burnaby South did not materialize.
McCarthy said a weak league only hinders the best team’s chances of making a serious charge for a B.C. berth.
“By default, we will slide into (Tuesday’s) final for the Burnaby-New Westminster district but, we haven't played a game in over two weeks. That means we are not going to be in any type of ‘game shape.’ You can practice all you want but the intensity is not the same as a game,” he noted. “We needed to play some games to stay at a higher level.”
The route ahead, if they win the league playoff banner, will see them square off against North Shore's No. 1 seed on May 13 at Burnaby Lake.
"This could be a bit of a trap for us next Tuesday. We've practised and the players seem ready but not playing games worries me a bit. We don't talk about the provincials but I know that is where the players want to be. (They) have bought into not looking past any opponent," he said.
The team's leadership core has included centre backs Madison Fowler and Emma Celle, midfielders Sonia Sarai and Christine Singh, wingers Lara Borgford and Ava Lee, and forwards Nisa Reehal and Taylor Spong.
"The seniors are leading the way but our five juniors have all been excellent and are strong two-way players. Everybody needs to contribute to be successful."
Tuesday's game will see them play the winner of today’s (Thursday) semifinal between Alpha and Burnaby North.