This season was not that season.
The Ardens capped off another undefeated and commanding campaign on Thursday afternoon with a 3-0 victory over the Central Cyclones to win their 11th straight league championship.
To put that in perspective, the seniors on this year’s team would have only been in Grade 1 or 2 when the streak started back in 2008. The rookies? They wouldn’t have even started school yet.
Some might not have even kicked a soccer ball.
But they were doing that and then some in brisk conditions at Sunningdale Field, turning in a consistent and stifling performance on their way to the somewhat comfortable win.
“We’re excited to win another league championship, especially for the girls,” said Ardens head coach Steven Mah, who has worked with the team alongside fellow bench boss Dale Perry for the entire run. “For some of the rookies this is their first time winning and with five Grade 12s, they were able to get through their career with four straight so they were happy and relieved about that. We were glad to finish it off and get the job done.”
The Cyclones didn’t go down without a fight, though.
While Central was unable to regularly advance the ball over half, they didn’t allow the Ardens much when in their own end. That defensive strategy kept things close throughout.
“Central came out with a good gameplan and really tried to slow our attack down and played really well defensively,” Mah said. “They were really well organized but our players were able to find a way through that and eventually we did kind of break through and score three relatively quick goals to give ourselves a little breathing room.
“Then in the second half we had our chances but just didn’t finish things off. So it was good to get the win but we definitely have some things to improve on before regionals next weekend.”
One of those aforementioned Grade 12s, striker Jannae Carlson, scored twice in the contest, while Ali Metke added the first goal of her high school career as Swift Current took a 3-0 lead out of the first half. Jasmine Temoshawsky was in goal for the shutout.
With yet another championship plaque on the league trophy, the question now is whether or not yet another title is in the works next season.
“Teams change every year, so you kind of have new challenges and new faces and different aspects to your team to make it successful,” Mah said. “This year’s team isn’t the most skilled we’ve ever had but they work hard and are pretty gritty and battle and win games. So it’s kind of nice to see us win different ways and with different people.
“It’s always good for the Grade 12s because you get to that last year and they’re worried they might be the ones to end that streak, so it’s a bit of a relief and excitement for them as well.”
Next up for local teams are the regional championships during the Oct. 19 weekend, with the top teams advancing to provincials.