When you’re starting out a brand new school year, you want to get out on the right foot.
It’s no different in the sporting world and a few Yellowknife schools got off on the right boot, if you will, on the soccer field.
Four schools brought back banners from the Elks Outdoor Soccer Tournament in Hay River, which wrapped up this past Sunday as J.H. Sissons, William McDonald, St. Pat’s and Sir John Franklin were all victorious in their respective divisions.
J.H. Sissons swept the Grade 4/5 division as their boys team defeated Ecole Boreale of Hay River, 1-0, in the gold medal contest while the girls defeated Princess Alexandra, also from Hay River and also by the same scoreline as the boys.
William McDonald was the big winner of the weekend as they captured three banners. Like with J.H. Sissons, the Grade 6/7 division was all Willie Mac as the girls took down Princess Alexandra, 1-0, in their final while the boys final was an all-Wildcats final as Team White defeated Team Blue, 1-0.
Scott Green was the coach in charge of the school’s operation in Hay River and said the boys final went off as planned.
“Both teams were already equal because we balance everything out beforehand,” he said. “Darren (Wicks, phys-ed teacher) and I sat down before we left and made sure we had even teams but we decided that if there were any issues at halftime (in the final), we’d switch things up.”
Something else Green said was nice about the Grade 6/7 teams was that the assistant coaches were all Grade 8 students.
“We all kind of sat back and let them coach,” he said.
In the Grade 8/9 division, William McDonald’s girls team, which did not have one Grade 9 student on its roster, took down Diamond Jenness Secondary School of Hay River in the final, 1-0.
Wendy Malkin coached the girls to victory and said her girls was a rough go of it in the final.
“Some of the girls were getting intimidated by the pushing,” she said. “Diamond Jenness played it a bit aggressive but there was no stopping our girls. They fought through it and played amazing.”
Some of the girls were upset about the pushing at halftime, added Malkin, but the message was to simply fight through it.
“I just told them to keep on playing,” she said. “You can’t wait for the calls to be made by the referee so I told them to stop worrying and keep on playing their game.”
St. Pat’s ended up winning the Grade 8/9 boys banner thanks to a 3-1 win over William McDonald.
Sir John Franklin found its success in the boys and girls AA high school finals. The boys final was Sir John Franklin Blue vs. Sir John Franklin Gold, which guaranteed the school a banner while the Sir John Franklin Gold girls beat Paul W. Kaeser, 3-0, to cop that banner.
Malkin also coached that squad and said the first half was a case of playing against the wind.
“The ball would keep dropping so that made passing tough,” she said. “We had to adjust to the wind because when the ball was in the air, it wasn’t going very far.”
Still, Sir John was able to take a 1-0 lead into the second half, where they had the wind at their backs, and that made for an easier time of it, Malkin added.
“We were able to pass the ball easier and control the possession,” she said.
The Falcons controlled possession so much that Malkin said the ball never left their opponents end at all during the second half.