P.E.I. defeated New Brunswick 2-0 at UPEI to win the tournament for the first time in recent memory.
Cyla McCloskey gave the host squad an early lead and it proved to be the game-winning goal.
“Ria Johnston crossed it from a corner kick and I hit it with my chest into the net,” explained the 12-year-old North Wiltshire resident. “It was exciting.”
New Brunswick carried the play for much of the game, hemming P.E.I. deep in their own end for long stretches of time.
“The girls stood strong, did their job and weathered the storm,” head coach Jonathan Vos said.
When New Brunswick was able to get Grade-A chances, keeper Alayna Trenholm rose to the occasion.
“She’s been amazing,” Vos said. “She’s been solid, consistent, and that’s all you can ask for in your keepers, and then make the big saves when they count, and she did today.”
It included a quick reaction save in tight and another stop, where she was able to tip the ball over the net.
Trenholm said it was a nice feeling to win the tournament after playing on the team a year ago that finished fourth in St. John’s, N.L.
“While playing the game, it was kind of stressful, but I knew we could do it,” the 13-year-old Summerside resident said. “After we got a goal, I just felt like, ‘We had this, 100 per cent’.”
McCloskey said they were able to keep positive and confident in their abilities while New Brunswick was applying pressure.
“We just thought about the little things we had to do to win the game.”
Paige MacLean chipped a ball past the New Brunswick keeper to provide the insurance goal in the 59th minute. It seemed to energize the host squad, as they controlled the play for much of the remaining 14 minutes.
Vos, who has coached the P.E.I. squad since October, said he was pleased for the young, dedicated group.
“It’s been amazing to see them grow.” He said. “It’s a great group to work with. They’re focused and looking to learn.”
P.E.I. went 1-0-2 in preliminary play with ties against Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia and a 3-1 win over New Brunswick on Saturday. Half of the six preliminary round games ended in draws.
Three bronze medals
Prince Edward Island also earned three bronze medals during other Atlantic soccer championships Sunday.
P.E.I. defeated New Brunswick 4-0 in the under-14 bronze medal game at UPEI. Keanna Ryan, Elly Dobson, Emma Langley and Bianca Boutilier scored for the Island.
The Island won 4-1 over Newfoundland and Labrador in the under-13 boys’ third-place game. James Doucette scored three times while Liam Wood added a single.
P.E.I. beat Newfoundland and Labrador in penalty kicks to decide the bronze medallist in the under-14 boys’ tournament. The game was tied 1-1 after regulation with Samuel Akinsola scoring for the Island.
The boys tournament was held in Corner Brook, N.L.