Holy Cross Kirby Group gets another shot at national medal

Robin
Robin Short
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Defending provincial champions retain title with win over Feildians

With careers and university graduations rapidly approaching for many of the core group of players on the Holy Cross Kirby Group provincial women’s soccer juggernaut, the time is now for a Canadian Jubilee Trophy medal.

“We pretty much say that every year,” said star forward Nichole Adams, “and the feeling this year is we have to do that.

“The transition to real jobs, to moving on with life, is coming. We’re not going to play forever. Some of the girls haven’t exactly said they’re retiring, but they’ve thrown the thought out there. So we want to win a (national) medal, to do it now with the core group we’ve had.”

Holy Cross won yet another provincial Breen’s Jubilee Trophy women’s championship Sunday with a 3-1 decision over Feildians Facey Financial Group in Mount Pearl.

The win capped off a 16-2-2 season for the squad. Last year, and in 2008, Holy Cross — then known as EPR Kirby/The Dock — put together back-to-back undefeated seasons.

What’s missing, however, is a medal at the Canadian championship.

The group came close in 2008 here in St. John’s, losing the bronze-medal game to B.C. The nationals last year were a weather-related debacle, when October snow in Saskatchewan forced the nationals indoors for all but one game.

Holy Cross finished sixth when it lost a penalty-kick shootout at 9 o’clock in the morning.

“We didn’t even play a game,” coach Scott Betts said. “We just went out and had penalty kicks. Everyone was out there just to get it done.

“It was all a bad memory.”

It took the women’s team 24 hours just to arrive in Saskatoon. After landing in Toronto, the team was redirected to Calgary where it had to wait nine hours for a flight to Saskatchewan.

By then, Holy Cross had informed Canadian Soccer Association officials it would not be in Saskatoon in time to play its first game, and it was rescheduled.

“The transition to real jobs, to moving on with life, is coming. We’re not going to play forever. Some of the girls haven’t exactly said they’re retiring, but they’ve thrown the thought out there. So we want to win a (national) medal, to do it now with the core group we’ve had.” Nicole Adams

“After coming close to a bronze in St. John’s, we were anxious to get to Saskatoon last year,” Adams said. “And we’re anxious now to get to P.E.I., to play the way the game is supposed to be played.”

Holy Cross will represent the province at the nationals Oct. 6-11 in Charlottetown.

Malorie Harris, the Sherry Morrissey MVP of the final, scored a pair of goals at 22 and 73 minutes. Adams added an insurance marker in injury time. Hilary Hutton had the Feildians marker at 38 minutes.

It was a banner season for Harris, who was the league’s top goalscorer (29 in 20 games), as well as the regular-season and playoff MVP.

Harris no doubt stepped up in the absence of perennial all-star Laura Breen, sidelined since July with a knee injury.

“That loss is more than I can tell,” Betts said of Breen. “She’s in a class by herself. We can’t even attempt to replace her.”

So far, it’s been working out pretty good.

Members of the champion Holy Cross Kirby Group team are Laura Breen, Nichole Adams, Heather Williams, Malorie Harris, Jessica Clarke, Leslie Pope, Samantha Hansford, Maria Oliver, Jenna Munden, Kayla Mullett, Natalie Butler, Ashley Dawe, Leighanne Tobin, Julia Whitten, Meghan Wall, Nicole Moores, Megan Dupuis, Janine Bursey, Catherine Hutchens, coach Scott Betts, assistant coach Gerry Kirby and assistant coach Liv-Therese Koksvik Martyn.

rshort@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Kirby Group, Feildians Facey Financial Group, Canadian Soccer Association

Geographic location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Toronto Calgary Saskatchewan.By

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