In an unlucky twist of fate, the Alpha Aztecs were unbeaten at this week’s AA provincial soccer championships in Burnaby but came away with the short end of the straw.
Despite tying for first place in pool play after three games, the Grade 11-heavy Aztecs found themselves relegated to the consolation bracket due to a tie-breaking formula that put Kamloops’ Sa-Hali Sabres and Maple Ridge’s Thomas Haney Thunder ahead of them.
The end result saw Alpha roll with the punch and finish the tournament on a three-game win streak to place ninth overall.
“We wanted to provide our grade 12s, along with some key grade 11s and 10s, a very positive experience, and to play like we did was a great achievement for our school,” coach Antonio Dal Sasso said. “We hopefully see ourselves making the top-16 bracket for at least the next few years.”
Starting the 16-team tourney with draws against Haney (3-3) and Sa-Hali (1-1) put them in a good spot, considering they were seeded third in the pool. It all came down to the results against Hazelton, with Alpha striking for a dominant 7-1 victory.
However, Sa-Hali also managed seven goals against Hazelton and surrendered none, which gave them a single-goal edge in goal differential. For the second spot, a penalty kick duel with Thomas Haney saw the Aztecs come up short 4-3.
Dal Sasso said there were numerous reasons to be proud of the Burnaby boys, including how they rallied against the Thunder.
“We were down 3-1 with 15 minutes to go and needed at least a tie. The boys persevered and scored two in the last 15 minutes,” he said.
In the team’s first game outside of pool play, Ben Beaulieu tallied four times in the team’s 5-2 win over Duchess Park. In their final match for the ninth-10th place spot, Alpha edged Brentwood College 1-0 in penalty kicks.
Beaulieu was named to the Commissioner’s 11 all-star team.