Despite suffering their first loss of the season on Tuesday during the Premier League qualifying playoff round, the Elmira District Secondary School boys’ soccer team can still advance to the Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association (CWOSSA) playoffs with a win later next week.
After cruising through the lower-tiered First Division regular season with a perfect 7-0 record and not allowing a single goal, the Lancers had their first test of the season on Tuesday against the Bluevale Knights of the Premier League, falling 2-1 in penalty kicks and knocking them out of the Waterloo County Secondary School Athletic Association (WCSSA) playoffs.Team captain Cole Martin scored the first goal of the match for an early 1-0 lead, but the game went into extra time after a Knight’s cross went off a Lancer defender’s head and into the net.
“We didn’t even get scored on, we scored on ourselves,” said head coach Chris Finnie. “We still haven’t had anyone score on us properly this season.”
Elmira will play Southwood Secondary School on Tuesday for the final berth in CWOSSA after Southwood fell 3-2 to Waterloo-Oxford this week. Waterloo-Oxford finished third in the First Division this season, well behind Elmira, but Finnie knows Southwood still presents a tough test.
“Last season Southwood was very strong and they got promoted this year and they seem to have done alright,” said Finnie. “They’re a tougher division up top, and they’re young and good defensively, but hopefully we can continue to play as well as we have.”
The Lancers sported a 7-0 record and outscored their opponents 21-0 en route to top place in their division, and Finnie credits their success to a well-balanced team and a strong effort on team defence. That balance was apparent when starting goaltender Mike Weber suffered an injury and backup Tyler Seguin sported back-to-back shutouts earlier this year.
Despite that dedication to defence the players also know what to do offensively when the opportunity arises, averaging three goals per game during the regular season.
“Our midfield is very good at dominating the ball, and our strikers are very skilled as well and can take advantage of mistakes that the other team makes,” the coach said.
The mix of players from all grade levels also bodes well for the team next season, as they will be moving up to the Premier League and will rely on that extra experience and ability to compete in tight matches.
“We have a very complete team, so when we get bumped up to the top league next year, we should be in good shape.”
The boys face Southwood Tuesday at 3 p.m. at 30 Southwood Dr. in Cambridge.