Kirby wins title in game decided in overtime

John
John Browne
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But controversy over new champion's star-studded lineup hasn't ended

It's a controversy that won't go away and it hung like a dark cloud over King George V Park during the Breen's Jubilee Trophy provincial women's soccer final Sunday night.

As expected, EPR Kirby/The Dock, a new team put together to not only win the provincial championship, but make a noise at the national level, won the league title even though it required overtime to defeat an underdog Holy Cross squad 2-0 before a crowd of about 500.

Members of EPR Kirby/The Dock celebrate after winning the Breen's Jubilee Trophy senior women's soccer championship Sunday at King George V Park in St. John's. Kirby took the title with a 2-0 overtime victory against Holy Cross. - Photo by Gary Hebbard/Th

It's a controversy that won't go away and it hung like a dark cloud over King George V Park during the Breen's Jubilee Trophy provincial women's soccer final Sunday night.

As expected, EPR Kirby/The Dock, a new team put together to not only win the provincial championship, but make a noise at the national level, won the league title even though it required overtime to defeat an underdog Holy Cross squad 2-0 before a crowd of about 500.

After a scoreless 90-minutes, the game was settled in two 15-minute overtime periods.

At 104 minutes, Nichole Adams tapped the ball behind Holy Cross keeper Nancy Smith from a scramble following a cross by Laura Breen in the overtime period. Gillian Baker scored an insurance marker at 123 minutes. Janie Bursey posted the shutout in a very entertaining game.

"We had lots of pressure on us and everyone in the stands seemed to be against us," said Adams after the hard-fought match.

Adams said her team is not close to achieving its goal, which is to be competitive with the top teams at the Canadian championship Oct. 8-13 in St. John's.

In a voice that came close to breaking a times, Holy Cross defender Megan Russell, the best player in the game said, "Our team battled extremely hard. I'm absolutely proud of them. I really thought we could have pulled it out.

"Considering we were the underdogs from the get-go this season, I thought we deserved a better fate against a team that put an all-star team together."

An eight-year league veteran, Russell said she was "really disappointed" that Kirby stacked its team.

"I know a lot of their players and, yes they are a great group and a talented bunch, but I expected more from them," she said.

"I think their team hurts the league, but what can you do?

Kirby coach Scott Betts insists his team, which went undefeated this season, outscoring the opposition 83-13, only helps to improve the overall calibre of play in the league.

Betts said when his team was first put together, he felt it would have a positive impact on the league in a couple of years, but suggests it may have already happened.

"When was the last time you saw a ladies' final like this?" he asked.

Holy Cross coach Paul Reddy said he had to be "very careful" of what he was going to say about how the Kirby team was put together and the effect it has had on the league.

"Last year, we had six or seven (senior) teams and this year we've got three, so what can I tell you?," said Reddy, referring to the fact there were three senior teams, along with St. John's and Mount Pearl Under-18 sides, this season.

In 2007, the league featured six senior teams last year along with four age-group squads.

Despite the loss, Reddy was proud of the way his team performed.

"This team played with a lot of soul, heart and a lot of passion," he said, pointing to a group of Holy Cross players who were sitting together on the field after the game. "They have more power as a team than individuals. They deserved a better result, as far as I'm concerned.""

Holy Cross, who had lost 4-0 to Kirby earlier in the playoff round, more than held their own in the first half, coming up with the two best two scoring chances of the opening 45 minutes.

Kirby came on strong in the second half and eventually controlled the play, but still couldn't beat Smith, who made a few terrific stops, including a dandy diving save on a hard shot by Breen, who was dangerous all game long. And while Holy Cross had some scoring opportunities throughout regulation time and in overtime, Kirby's defence remained solid as a rock.

Adams, meanwhile, said she wasn't surprised the final was a close match.

"I think everybody comes to the playoffs differently and certainly a championship game.

"I think we were off our game early, probably because of nerves," she said. "We were stressed out after the first half.

"We didn't realize how good a game Holy Cross could give us."

jbrowne@thetelegram.com




GAME SUMMARY/AWARDS

Championship game
EPR Kirby/The Dock 2, Holy Cross 0 (OT)
Goal scorers: Nichole Adams (104 minutes), Gillian Baker (123 minutes)
Referee: Damian Masterson
---
Individual awards for playoffs
Sherry Morrissey Award (playoff MVP): Laura Breen EPR Kirby/The Dock
Eleanor Bennett CBC Award: (most spirited player): Nancy Smith, Holy Cross
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League all-stars
Strikers: Nichole Adams, EPR Kirby/The Dock, Maxine Morris, Holy Cross; Laura Breen, EPR Kirby/The Dock
Midfield: Mallorie Harris, EPR Kirby/The Dock; Jessica Wade, EPR Kirby/The Dock; Jennifer Neville, Paradise Physio/ George Street Beer Market/Coors Light; Lindsey Reddy, Holy Cross
Defenders: Julia Whitten, EPR Kirby/The Dock; Megan Russell, Holy Cross; Anne Stapleton, Paradise Physio/George Street Beer Market/Coors Light
Goalkeeper: Nancy Smith, Holy Cross
---
Individual league awards
Rookie of the year: Maxine Morris, Holy Cross
Joy Burt Award (most spirited player): Denise Hickey, Paradise Physio/GSBK/ Coors Light
Coach of the year: Paul Reddy, Holy Cross
Jean Thompson Award (regular-season champion): EPR Kirby/ The Dock
Raleen Baggs Award (regular-season MVP): Nichole Adams, EPR Kirby/ The Dock
Sandy Faulkner Award (top goal scorer): Nichole Adams, EPR Kirby/ The Dock
Top defender: Julia Whitten, EPR Kirby/ The Dock

Organizations: The Dock, Coors

Geographic location: King George V Park, St. John's

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  • Doug
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    When this Kirby team was assembled, the coach claimed that it would help MUN be more competitive in their AUS play but I think it has actually had a negative impact on the development of individual players. They'd have improved more playing against each other at a higher skill level than stacking up and playing teams that were not nearly as deep.

    Great to see Maxine Morris win Rookie of the Year especially with her being one of the few MUN players who didn't jump on the band wagon.

  • Doug
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    When this Kirby team was assembled, the coach claimed that it would help MUN be more competitive in their AUS play but I think it has actually had a negative impact on the development of individual players. They'd have improved more playing against each other at a higher skill level than stacking up and playing teams that were not nearly as deep.

    Great to see Maxine Morris win Rookie of the Year especially with her being one of the few MUN players who didn't jump on the band wagon.