Last year's tough defeat has proved fodder for this year's incredible win - with hopefully more to follow.
The Archbishop Carney Stars have their sights set on a provincial top-three finish, after acing the Fraser Valley AA senior boys soccer championships with a 5-0 trouncing of Aldergrove last Thursday.
Anchored by strong veteran leadership and a 19-player roster that rolled up its sleeves, the Stars grabbed an early lead on Mike North's marker 10 minutes into the game. They kept up the pressure but weren't able to add to it until the second half, when they poured it on late.
North and Jorge Brizuella both counted twice, with Steve Porcellato adding a single.
"The boys had been playing as a team all season and we focused on that," noted Carney coach Mate Zvicer. "We made sure everyone knew their role and to keep playing as a team, to worry about things in their circle of control and forgot about the rest."
It was the third straight year that the Port Coquitlam private school had made it to the AA Fraser Valley final.
It turned out to be a perfect circle at the Valleys, as the squad defeated Sands 3-0 and Abbotsford Traditional 5-2 to advance to the final.
In the game against Abby Traditional, the Stars trailed at halftime but scored two times to take a temporary lead. Abby rallied and forced extra time, but the Stars stormed out and scored three times to earn a berth to the B.C.s and a spot in the Valley final.
A veteran core has been the driving force all season, Zvicer said.
"These guys play as a team and want to win for each other. They also love to win and expect so much from themselves, I think that the thirst to win is something most of these guys are born with."
Leading the way are Bryan Cadman, Anthony Martin and Alex Dalla Zanna, each of whom plays a big role in inspiring and firing up their teammates.
Their lone loss came in the second game of the regular season, 1-0 to Thomas Haney, and was quickly turned into a learning experience. Carney outscored its competition 49-5 during league play.
At the B.C. Catholic championships, the Stars projected a disciplined purpose in pursuit of the title, prevailing 1-0 over Notre Dame for the crown.
If they can continue that tempo at next week's provincials, which start Monday at Burnaby West complex, the Stars should be able to improve upon last season's fifth-place showing.
"We have been in some tough spots this season and they have been able to pull through using their experience," Zvicer added. "Their soccer sense and calmness on the ball is so hard to teach, it comes with all the knowledge they are able to gain and hold onto playing in so many situations."
Carney opens the provincials Monday 11 a.m. against D.P. Todd at Burnaby West. They also play Gulf Islands at 2: 45 p.m., and continue the tournament on Tuesday, 9 a.m. against Summerland. The B.C. championship final is slated for 11: 45 a.m. on Wednesday.