The Swift Current Comp. Ardens capped an amazing season with a silver medal at the 3A Girls SHSAA Soccer Provincial Championships in Estevan.
The Ardens opened the tournament Friday with an 8-0 quarter-final win over Estevan. Lauryn Hayes led the Ardens with two goals and one assist, while rookie fullback Kaitlyn Berggren added a goal and an assist.
Ali Vance, Taylor Kohls, Jodi-Lynn Jacklin, Jaden McKenzie, and Aspen Thomson also scored. Jessica Warren, Jannae Carlson, Cassie Barber, and Calli Moreau-Simpson all added assists.
The Ardens clinched a spot in the gold medal match with a hard-earned 3-1 win over Saskatoon Centennial.
Hayes gave the Ardens the all-important opening marker in the third minute with a breakaway goal. The Chargers equalized in the 33rd minute, but Hayes responded with a second breakaway goal in the 42nd minute for a 2-1 lead at halftime. Barber sealed the win with a free kick goal in the 85th minute.
McKenzie earned the win in goal, while Vance and Carlson picked up assists in the medal-clinching win.
“With a spot in the provincial final on the line and a chance to avenge a 2-1 loss to Centennial in last year’s provincial semi-final the girls played with focus and determination, which resulted in their best performance of the year,” said head coach Dale Perry. “We were great all over the field from back to front.”
The Ardens ran into a fantastic Saskatoon St. Joseph Guardians team in the championship match and held them off the board for 42 minutes before falling 5-0.
“In my 13 years with the Ardens we have never encountered a team with the skill and ability of St. Joes. They have a large number of players who participate in the Saskatchewan Soccer High Performance program and definitely were full marks for the win. Our girls played valiantly and kept them off the scoreboard for 42 minutes,” said Perry.
The Ardens have now won 3A Girls Soccer Provincial medals in four of the past six seasons. They finished the season with 20 wins and only two losses, including tournament, league, and Regional titles. They won their ninth straight Moose Jaw League championship and extended their league unbeaten streak to 94 games.
“I believe this team went into this year unsure how they would do as we graduated six quality players last year. They didn’t want to be the team that lost in the Moose Jaw league. As the season wore on they started to believe in themselves and took on all teams with the belief they could win. Winning twice against arch rival Prince Albert Carlton was a major turning point for the girls,” said Perry.
The Ardens will graduate seven players, while 12 will be eligible to return next season. Hayes, Vance, Rebecca Treen, Barber, Warren, Amy Neufeld, and McKenzie will move on after four Moose Jaw League titles, four Regional titles, and three provincial medals over the past four seasons.
“We graduate seven more quality players this year. There will be a lot of big shoes to fill all over the field, but as always we head into next year, not as a rebuild, but a reload,” said Perry.