Who Loves Penalty Shots?

Tuesday, November 30, 2021 - By: Blake Gage

By Blake Gage, Director of Athletics

Well, it was certainly an exciting November for Brentwood sports teams. The cross country group took a record ten students across the water to compete at the Provincial Championships, where Luise Hitzbleck (coming directly from her Provincial Field Hockey Tournament) set the standard—finishing 18th overall in a field of over 100 competitors.

Our volleyball teams (all seven of them!) were extremely active finishing up their seasons. Some highlights included our Junior B Girls winning the Mid-Island B Championship, our Senior B Girls earning bronze at ISAs, and the Junior A Girls capturing 6th on the Island in an extremely tough tournament featuring top 4A teams (Brentwood is 2A but in size but there are no tiers at the junior level). Meanwhile, our Senior Girls varsity team is still going strong, as they managed to capture silver at the Island Championship and earn a berth to the provincials taking place in early December.

In field hockey, our Senior Girls First XI had an incredible finish to the season. After winning bronze at Islands, the girls then went onto provincials—where they played their best hockey of the year and captured the bronze medal by defeating highly ranked Crofton House in penalty shots. This was the first provincial field hockey medal for our field hockey team since 2008. Not surprising, perhaps, that two feature players on that 2008 team are current First XI coaches Alex Miller and Rachel Reynolds!
 
Finally, in boys soccer, our Junior Boys Team won its mid-island league and hosted the Island Championship, where they battled through to the semi-final and eventually finished 4th overall—an excellent accomplishment for a 2A team. Meanwhile, our Senior Boys Soccer Team narrowly made it to provincials by coming third overall at the Island Championship.

While qualifying for provincials is an excellent accomplishment at any time, it looked like our Senior Boys could be in some trouble—as, along the way, they had lost a number of key players to injury. They entered the twelve-team tournament as the #3 seed in their three-team pool. The team played terrific soccer in the opening round and did not concede a single goal in their first two games, winning 3-0 and 1-0—the latter ending in an amazing last-minute goal by Grade 9 student Youto Imai. With these two wins, the team was, shockingly, through to the semi-final round for just the second time in school history; indeed, the school had never before finished better than 4th in the province.

A difficult task lay ahead as they would be facing the tournament favourite, Notre Dame. After the first 15 minutes, things did not look good: the boys were down 1-0 and being badly outplayed. Nonetheless, with a number of soccer alumni shouting encouragement from the sidelines, the boys dug in deeper, played harder, and the play started to even out. A brilliant goal from Thomas MacDonald, from just outside the yard box, knotted the game at 1-1 and it stayed that way through regulation. After two periods of extra time, the game was still tied 1-1 and so the table was set for an ever-exciting penalty kick ending. The Brentwood shooters showed nerves of steel and scored on six of their first seven shots. Notre Dame, however, matched them on every goal. Finally, on the seventh shot, a clutch save by the Brentwood keeper sealed the deal for a stunning upset and Brentwood was off to the finals.

The finals saw a rematch against Campbell River Secondary (Carihi), a team we had lost a close game against in the North Island Tournament. The play was fairly evenly matched for much of the first half but a goal by Avik Bakshi put Brentwood up 1-0 at the half. Despite great pressure from Carihi, Brentwood played superb defense and were poised to escape with the win before disaster struck. Head Prefect and defensive stalwart Jacob Hart became the latest Brentwood player to go down with an injury, and Carihi capitalized in the last couple minutes of regulation and tied the game 1-1. With four games in a 28-hour period, both teams were exhausted and the score was still tied 1-1 after both extra-time periods. Once again, the game went to nerve-wracking penalty kicks. Once again, the Brentwood snipers were calm, cool, and collected—scoring three straight. And because Carihi missed on their first two, the boys had accomplished what no Brentwood team had done before and captured gold at the 2A Provincial Soccer Championship! The win was a testament to the resilient nature of the team and the depth of the program, as player after player stepped up and chipped in—any way they could to help the team. Mr. Barrett, Mr. Reynolds, and the entire soccer coaching staff deserve a great deal of credit for creating such a positive culture within the program.

Winter Season
With December upon us, second-term sport gets underway. Our hockey and basketball teams will have busy schedules, including a potential trip to the Czech Republic for our hockey team. In this unfolds, please wish our Senior Girls Volleyball Team luck as they head to their Provincial Championship taking place December 9-12.

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