For a small club in a small town, the Port Moody Gunners sure can win big.
The under-21 men's soccer team delivered on it's primary goal Saturday when it outlasted the defending provincial champion Victoria Highlanders in a 2-1 contest in Burnaby.
The prize was the Doug Day Provincial u-21 Cup.
The Gunners, who have a good track record in provincial finals over its eight-year history, got out to a quick start when Jake Hoedel blocked a clearing attempt by a Highlander defender. Jack Livesey took advantage and fed Steve Causier, who cashed in his one-timer just 15 minutes into the game.
The Victoria crew raged back and held Port Moody's feet to the fire, but netminder Mike Yip kept them goalless over the first half.
The goalkeeper continued to shine in the second half when called upon to stare down a rival shooter on a penalty kick. Sam Kullar was called for an overzealous tackle in the box, putting Victoria on the shooting line. Yip dove to his left and smothered the ball to preserve the lead.
It also triggered the next foray into Highlander territory - with Livesey driving the ball down the right side and past a defender before his low cross found the far corner.
Although the defending champions kept pressing and managed to beat Yip late in injury time, the final whistle a few seconds later capped it.
"A warm sunny day, two very skilled teams, and a fast pitch made for an extremely entertaining game," Gunners manager Rick Sayers responded in an e-mail.
"Given the skill and intensity of the Victoria attack, you have to tip your hat to our defenders who all stepped their games up."
Turning in stellar games on the backline were Jon Lewieniec, Wahid Mojaddidi, Adam Sidi, Sergio Vargas and Kullar. Mojaddidi was selected the Man of the Match.
"Wahid has always been a superb athlete, and very skilled around a soccer ball, but he's had to work hard and mature in a hurry to take on his role this year," said Sayers. "It was very gratifying to see that organizers voting on this award saw what we've seen all year."
It was another feather in the cap - and third provincial title - for the small club.
"We don't openly recruit, as word of mouth seems to give us all the players we can handle," noted Sayers.
Most of the players have come through the Port Moody ranks.
The win also was the final game for four graduating members.
Playing key roles in a terrific season were: Steve Causier, Dom Dmytrenko, Jake Hoedel, Alex King, Sam Kullar, Jon Lewieniec, Jack Livesey, Wahid Mojaddidi, Dan Ostrovsky, Josh Rogers, Cam Sayers, Tyler Schaffrick, Brendan Sexton, Adam Sidi, Sergio Vargas, Jason Waller, Mike Yip and Jason Yoo and coach Rob Causier.
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