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It was mission accomplished for the Athena Hawks.
The Summerside-based school capped off a season of high expectations by winning the P.E.I. School Athletic Association Intermediate A Boys Soccer League championship on Saturday afternoon. Athena edged the Kensington Torchmen 1-0 to win its first provincial title since 2011.
“I’m very proud of the boys this year,” said Hawks head coach Scott Drummond. “This is what we set out to do.”
At the Terry Fox Sports Complex, Daniel Ellis scored the game’s lone goal at the nine-minute mark, and the Hawks played stingy defence the rest of the way in front of keeper Cam Schurman.
“We’ve had a great season, and it’s great to top it off like this,” said Schurman, a 13-year-old Grade 9 student from Bedeque. “We did a lot of things well.
“We played defensively when we needed to and got some offensive chances. It was a good game for all of us.”
This championship has been a few years in the making. Drummond explained it was only a few years ago that Athena did not have an intermediate boys’ soccer team.
The core group of the 2020 edition of the Hawks has been playing together for three years.
“This has been our year,” said Drummond. “We have a lot of senior guys on the team, and they worked hard all year for this banner. They are pretty excited.”
The provincial championship capped an undefeated campaign for Athena, which finished 6-0 (won-lost) and allowed only two goals-against all season.
That strong defensive play was a big storyline in the final against Kensington. Drummond said the Hawks lowered the risk on the ball, making sure it was kept to the outside and communicated well.
“We were able to score a goal early and we switched our strategy a little bit to play a little more defensive,” said Drummond.
Kensington co-coach James Murphy said the gold-medal game featured two good teams going at it in a rematch of a Western Division playoff game, which Athena won in penalty kicks last week.
Murphy said playing on the turf field provided some challenges for the Torchmen, who are accustomed to playing on a grass surface.
“It takes the players a little bit of time to get used to it as the ball rolls a little faster, but there are no excuses,” said Murphy. “All in all, I thought it was a good effort by the boys on both sides.”
Although Athena will graduate some core players, Drummond feels the team will be back in the mix next year.
Grace Christian wins bronze
Beatrice Galaise scored twice to lead Grace Christian to a 4-0 win over Souris in the bronze-medal game of the P.E.I. Intermediate A Boys Soccer League at the Terry Fox Sports Complex on Saturday.
Desmond Cunniffe and Jonathan Ndayegamiye also found the back of the net for Grace Christian, which led 1-0 at halftime.
Lucas Nguyen recorded the clean sheet.