Sally Matthews of the Elgin Park Orcas (left) and Ritti Lakhanpal of the Panorama Ridge Thunder battle for a loose ball during the championship game of the Fraser Valley Senior AAA girls high school soccer championships May 14 at Newton Athletic Park.

Trio of teams heading to B.C. championships

Elgin Park, Panorama Ridge, Fleetwood Park qualify for provincial tournament

Three high school girls soccer teams from Surrey are headed to the Senior AAA provincial championship tournament in Saanichton May 28-30, after claiming the top three positions at the 16-team Fraser Valley Championship tournament.

The Elgin Park Orcas won the Fraser Valley championship with a 3-1 win over the Panorama Ridge Thunder last Thursday evening. The Fleetwood Park Dragons placed third.

“Elgin Park fully deserved to be the Fraser Valley Champions on the day,” said Panorama Ridge co-coach Derek Duke. “The Thunder know that they will have to be at their best when they begin provincials at the end of the month if they want to have a successful tournament.”

The Orcas were a perfect 5-0 in league play to finish atop the South Zone standings, outscoring the opposition 26-2. Seeded second for the 16-team Fraser Valley tournament, Elgin Park won four playoff games with an 18-4 aggregate.

Panorama Ridge was the first-place team in the Southwest Zone, winning all six games with a goal difference of 32-3 to earn the top-seed for the Fraser Valley playoffs. They advanced to the championship game with three consecutive wins, defeating the Tamanawis Wildcats 6-0, the Heritage Woods Kodiaks 4-1, and the Fleetwood Park Dragons 2-1.

“It was an entertaining game to watch as both teams battled hard but Monpreet Heer’s goal in the second half proved to be the winner,” said Duke. “Ritti Lakhanpal and Connie Awuku-Darkoh did a great job in the midfield and Tia Smith made some big saves in net.”

The Dragons placed third in the Fraser Valley tournament, edging the Charles Best Blue Devils of Coquitlam 2-1 on penalties. Simi Lehal scored the goals for Fleetwood Park in the final two games.

“For us, our back line has been very good again,” said Dragons coach Sunny Uppal. “We are also getting goals for different areas of the field, especially from the Billen sisters (Harman and Simran).

“Jessica Galbraith and Kayla Smith have been outstanding in the middle of the pitch for us, and have been an excellent duo offensively and defensively.”

n After an average regular season, a three-game win streak in the playoffs allowed the Holy Cross Crusaders achieve a first for the Surrey high school’s girls soccer team.

The Crusaders reached the championship game of the Fraser Valley Senior AA tournament for the first time in school history, losing 2-1 on penalties to the top-seed Archbishop Carney Stars Wednesday, May 13 in Coquitlam.

“It was a tough shootout loss for us,” said Crusaders coach Anthony Pezzente. “We were without our best player and leading scorers Brittney Zacharuk.

“She is going to the University of the Fraser Valley on a soccer scholarship and scored 10 goals in three games in the Fraser Valley tournament before being injured and unable to play in the final.”

The Crusaders weren’t among the league leaders in the regular season, posting a 3-1-2 (win-tie-loss) record to place third in the West Zone. They gave up just seven goals in the six games, but only scored six times.

Holy Cross needed a 5-1 win over Pitt Meadows in a qualifying game to get into the eight-team Fraser Valley playoff.

Seeded seventh, the Crusaders upset the second-seed Abbotsford Traditional Titans 4-1, then blanked the sixth-seed Brookswood Bobcats 1-0 to qualify for the Fraser Valley final.

Karn Chohan and Georgia Whalley have led our back line all year,” said Pezzante. “Our defensive record is pretty good.”

The Crusaders will play at the B.C. Senior AA Championships May 28-30 in Vancouver.

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