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Stunning success: Vanier rides momentum to 4A girls soccer crown

Vanier dominates provincial tournament to win school’s third provincial title in past year
The St. Louis Blues can tell you all about how finding just a bit of momentum at the right time can lead to huge things.

For the Vanier Spirits high school girls soccer team, it all started with an extra-time win over Regina Luther in the very first game of the regional championships.

It took two halves of overtime to find their 4-3 win, but once they had it, they wouldn’t lose again this season.

The Spirits would win their next two contests to claim the regional title before posting a pair of 4-1 wins at the 4A girls high school provincial soccer championship in Yorkton this past weekend, defeating Martensville in the semifinal and Se Se Wa Hum in the gold medal game.

“The girls just decided to step up in regionals, and if you looked at our regular season, it didn’t look like we were provincial champions,” said Spirits coach Daniel Atkins. “But when it came to regionals, Luther was beating us 2-1 at the half and it was a bit wake-up call. We were able to win... and from then we haven’t let down in intensity. We’ve kept playing that kind of game ever since.”

The gold medal game offered a perfect example.

Vanier scored on one of their first chances in the game and built a 3-0 lead at half. All that was with the wind at their backs, though, and there was some concern that things would change once the brisk breeze was going the other way.


The Spirits scored immediately after the break and would hold their 4-0 lead until late in the game when Se Se Wa Hum scored to break the shutout. It would be too little too late, and just  like that Vanier were provincial champs.

“We struggled this season initially, I thought at the start of the season we had the potential to make provincials, but we didn’t play that way during the regular season,” Atkins said. “And then playing teams like Swift Current, it’s ultimately not a big confidence boost. But the girls showed up when they needed and that’s maybe the story of a lot of playoff wins.”

The team took the field this season with a single Grade 12 in Meisie Chamberlain, and to say the least the veteran stand-out was happy to see the incredible turn of fortune.

“Having the teams we’ve had in the past really upped the level for our team this year, I think,” she said shortly after the team was honoured with a school assembly on Monday morning. “Until the start of the season we had a lot of doubt in ourselves, we weren’t taking practices seriously, and losing to Central during the season kind of put a damper on things.”

Then came regionals, and everything changed.

“Going into regionals we thought we’d be playing our last game,” Chamberlain said, “but that win motivated us and showed us that we can do it.”

As well as things turned out this season, the Spirits could be even stronger next season with so many returning players.

“Absolutely,” said Atkins. “We’re not going to predict that we’re going to win provincials next year, but someone is going to have to step up big to stop us. We lose two players, but we still have a whole team coming back that’ll be really strong.”

Quick kicks… The win was the third provincial title for Vanier in the past 12 months after Allison Grajczyk-Jelinski won the provincial cross-country title and the Vikings boys volleyball squad the 4A championship last season.

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