Five schools from Surrey were represented at the 16-team B.C. Senior AAA Boys High School Soccer Tournament in Burnaby last week, but the district was shut out of the medals.
The Sullivan Heights Stars came the closest to a podium finish, finishing fourth after three days of competition, and improvement on their sixth place finish at the Fraser Valley championship tournament early last month.
“We did knock off the number-one ranked team in the province and defending provincial champion Dr. Charles Best (Blue Devils) in a shootout,” said Stars head coach Gary Atwal. “We ended up losing to the eventual winner Reynolds (Roadrunners).
“At one point in the season, we were ranked as high as number two, and Dr. Charles Best hadn’t lost a game all season.”
The Stars opened the tournament with a 1-1 tie against the Blue Devils, then blanked Burnaby North 1-0 later in the day. A 3-1 win over the Killarney Cougars clinched top spot in their group.
The shootout win over Dr. Charles Best after the two sides played to the tie allowed Sullivan Heights to finish atop their four-team group in round robin play and advance to the provincial semifinals.
The Stars, who were led by three goals from Ryan Uppal in the round robin, were unable to score in the playoff round and lost to a pair of teams from Vancouver Island. Sullivan Heights fell 3-0 to Reynolds in the semifinal then dropped a 1-0 decision to the Oak Bay Breakers in the bronze medal game.
Reynolds defeated the Argyle Pipers on penalty kicks to win the gold medal after the two sides played to a 4-4 tie in the championship game.
Harjot Nijjar of the Stars was named Top Goalkeeper of the tournament, and Uppal was the Stars representative on the Commisioner’s 11 list of team MVP’s.
The Stars were 5-0-1 in league play to finish first in the Southwest zone standings. Seeded third for the Fraser Valley tournament, they placed sixth.
The L.A. Matheson Mustangs were playing in their first-ever Senior AAA provincial championship in any sport, and finished an impressive sixth.
The Mustangs went 2-2-1 (win-loss-tie) over their five games at the provincial championship.
Matheson placed second in their group with a 1-1-1 record, blanked the Panorama Ridge Thunder 1-0 in their first playoff game, then closed out the tournament with a 4-1 loss to Dr. Charles Best.
“It has been a four-year process for this particular group, and through the years we have had some success with a Surrey championship and a Fraser Valley championship,” said Mustangs head coach Manmeet Sahota.
“But our goal was always to make the provincials this year. For a school that has never had a top 10 rating prior to a couple of weeks ago, finishing sixth in B.C. was a big accomplishment.”
Shawn Sidhu was selected to the Commisioner’s 11, as he and Darash Sandhu paced the L.A. Matheson offense.
Nav Sandhu, Arjun Hothi and Avi Kumar were standouts in the midfield, Akash Randhawa excelled on the back line and Gurnoor Bedwel excelled in goal.
The Mustangs finished first in the North zone in league play at 5-0-1 and won three of four games at the Fraser Valley tournament to place third.
Panorama Ridge went 1-0-2 in group play to place second at the provincial tournament. After their playoff loss to the Mustangs, they finished with a 1-0 loss to the St. George’s Saints.
The Thunder finished second to Sullivan Heights in league play, and were fifth at the Fraser Valley tournament.
The Fleetwood Park Dragons won just one of three games in group play, placing third with a 1-2-0 mark. They then edged Killarney 1-0 and topped the R.A. McMath Wildcats 2-1 on penalty kicks to claim ninth place.
They were 3-1-2 in league play, finishing second in the South zone. they qualified for the provincial tournament with a fourth place finish at the Fraser Valley tournament.
The Tamanawis Wildcats were 1-1-1 in the round robin stage of the provincial tournament, lost their first playoff game 4-2 to McMath, then finished the week with a 3-1 win over Killarney.
Tamanawis was 3-2-1 to place fourth in the South zone and had to win a play-in game just to qualify for the Fraser Valley tournament. Seeded 14th, they won three consecutive games before losing the tournament final 2-0 to Dr. Charles Best.
Sahil Dhindsa (Panorama Ridge), Shiv Kang (Fleetwood Park) and Akash Manes (Tamanawis) made the Commisioner’s 11 list.