There's a bit of a pattern evolving in the provincial high school zone soccer rankings for smaller schools in the A classification. In 2008, Whistler edged Pemberton to get to the provincials. In 2009, Pemberton edged Whistler to move on. And this year, after squaring off against other small school teams at the zone championship tournament at UBC on Monday and Tuesday, it's between Whistler and Pemberton once again.
According to Whistler Secondary assistant coach Peter Shrimpton, only three teams from Zone 5 will go to the provincials from Nov. 4 to 6 in Rossland. By finishing second in their respective pools with identical records of three wins and one loss, only one of the two teams will move on after Friday's game at Quest University.
"At least one team is going through," said Shrimpton.
Pemberton beat St. John's 4-0 in their first game, then edged out Mulgrave 2-1 with Hans Schranz scoring in the last minute to win game two. They lost their game against West Point Grey Academy, which placed first in the tournament, then beat Mt. Currie in their final game to finish with a record of 3-1.
Mt. Currie did not win a game in the tournament.
Whistler won its first two games on Monday, beating Waldorf Vancouver 2-0 and then Pender Harbour 2-0. On Tuesday they won their first game against Bodwell in a shootout, but lost 1-0 in their final game against St. Thomas Aquinas from North Vancouver to tie Pemberton in the round robin.
Friday's game at Quest, which gets underway at 6:30 p.m., should be a good one said Shrimpton.
"A lot of the players have been on joint Sea to Sky teams or combined teams for tournaments, and they know each others' playing style," he said. "In this case, the knowledge they have of each other as players, their strengths and skills, will make it a very complicated game for the coaches."
Shrimpton singled out some of the Whistler players for solid play, including goal-scorers Jerome Cabrera, Jae-Hyung Choi, Jonas Horvath and Cam Baker from the first day, and goalie Reis Bush for a solid stop in the shootout and good play all around. He also gave high marks to Brandon Knight, who came in as goalie in the second half of their last game and made a diving save to stop a penalty kick and keep the team in a tie for second in the round robin with Pemberton.