Soccer teams collide at Christmas tourney

Midway through the second half of the men's final, three straight goals topped Team Lars' Christmas wish list. Old Saint Nick was paying attention.

Midway through the second half of the men’s final, three straight goals topped Team Lars’ Christmas wish list. Old Saint Nick was paying attention.

Team Lars overcame a 4-2 deficit to win the men’s division at the 10th annual Christmas Tournament, hosted by Yukon Soccer’s Senior Metro League, on Dec. 22 at Vanier Catholic Secondary.

“We’re way older than they are, so it feels good,” said Team Lars captain Lars Jessup. “We’ve won this before, so it’s good to be back.”

Trailing by two to the ‘91 Grizzlies, Team Lars regained their title from three years ago with goals from Ash Jordan, Calef Staples with the tying goal and Stewart Patton with the game-winner to make it 5-4.

Also scoring for Lars were Jan Aalt van den Hoorn and Arlo O’Riordan in the first half.

“We’re a team of aging goal-scorers and grinders,” said Jessup. “We managed to grind out a couple and our aging goal-scorers put it in the back of the net.”

“This is probably the best competition we get all year for men’s soccer,” he added. “It’s always a great tourney, always have the maximum amount of good players because they always come back from university. So this is always the most fun every year.”

Team Lars went undefeated in the tournament with one tie along the way.

The ‘91 Grizzlies, mostly made up of players born in 1991, got on the board with goals from Cody Reaume, Logan Potter, Cody Fraser and Stephen Dynes.

“It was a tough one,” said Reaume of the final. “It was a lot of fun, but we didn’t have enough left in the tank. We had one, two subs through the whole tournament.”

There was far less nail-biting in the women’s final.

Team Charly’s Angels downed the Reds 9-2 to win the title. Charly’s Angels, named after coach Charly Kelly, contained many players who will represent Yukon in junior female indoor soccer at the Arctic Winter Games in March.

“We didn’t have full Arctics team here, but with the team we had we were doing really good,” said Angels’ Jaylene Kelly. “We had good passes and were moving up the field well. I’m kind of sad our Arctics team couldn’t be here together to get this experience.”

Jaylene Kelly and Megan Lanigan, who was a red shirt for the University of Victoria Vikes women’s soccer team this season, each had a hat trick in the final. Also scoring were Emily Wilson, Caroline Miller and Aimee Parker.

“It was such a fun experience. Every time we get to play with the Arctics team we’re bonding,” said Miller, who is on the Arctics squad. “It’s such a fun tournament before the Arctics, which is such a serious tournament.”

Sisters Susan and Jamie Whitty scored for the Reds in the final.

The two finalist teams tied 3-3 in their previous game during the round-robin.

“I think today we connected better as a team,” said Jaylene. “Our passes were crisper than yesterday and we knew where we going more.”

The 10th annual tournament featured a chest-high wooden wall along one end of the gym that sectioned off the bleachers that we filled for the finals. The fence was constructed specifically for the tournament by True Scale Design and Consulting Ltd. with materials donated by Home Hardware.

“Vanier gives us the gym for free and there’s so much interest in it every year,” said tournament co-organizer Haley Stallabrass. “We had to cap it at eight men’s teams this year because there were too many teams interested.

“We had five women’s team that we’re really happy with.”

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