NEWTON â€” Despite being ranked 14th of 16 teams, the Tamanawis Wildcatsâ€™ senior boysâ€™ soccer team won the Fraser Valley Championships Thursday (Nov. 6) after defeating Sullivan Heights Stars 2-0.
Striker Gavyn Kang scored two tap-in goals against a Sullivan Heights team that played the majority of the game with 10 men to give the Wildcats their second Fraser Valley soccer banner in three years.
â€œWhen teams come together, itâ€™s amazing,â€ said Tamanawis head coach Paul Rai. â€œSometimes you just get hot at the right time.â€
The weather was a factor throughout the game and especially on the opening goal after the Sullivan keeper misjudged the flight of the ball.
â€œSome horses like to run in the mud, some donâ€™t,â€ said Rai.
Wildcats captain Gurpreet Hundal said the team had something to prove in the final and hopes the team carries this momentum to the provincial championships.
â€œWhen youâ€™re ranked 14th, you donâ€™t want to be at the back of the table, you want to be at the top of the table,â€ he added.
Stars coach Gary Atwal said he felt the red card changed the momentum of the game as he thought his team was the stronger side in the opening exchanges.
â€œThe guys battled the whole game, but you have to take those chances when you get them,â€ said Atwal.
The match started very slowly as both teams tested each other out at Goldstone Park.
The first marker came on 37 minutes when the Sullivan keeper dropped an in-swinging cross right into Kangâ€™s path.
Two minutes later, Sullivanâ€™s Jai Dhillon was sent off after the official deemed the player uttered abusive language to a linesman.
Even though they were a man down, the Stars started the second half stronger but squandered a chance wide and saw a header come back off the crossbar in the opening five minutes.
Kang put the game to bed when he scored his second goal midway through the half on a Tamanawis counter attack.
The Wildcats enter the provincials, which start on Nov. 20 at Burnaby Lake West Sports Complex, as top dogs winning one of the strongest regions. Sullivan Heights, Panorama Ridge, Earl Marriott and Queen Elizabeth are the other Surrey schools that qualified for the AAA tournament.
On the AA side, Southridge has qualified for provincials after finishing in third place in the AA Fraser Valley Championships.