The Dover Bay Dolphins went from the brink of elimination to glorious victory, all in the span of a day.
The AAA senior boys’ team won B.C. Secondary School Soccer’s Island championship Tuesday at Merle Logan Field, defeating the Claremont Spartans in the afternoon final, 2-0.
It might be that morning’s semifinal game that Dover will remember most from that day. Playing the Oak Bay Bays, the Dolphins needed just a tie to advance to the final of the round robin tournament, while the Bays needed a win.
The teams held each other scoreless until the visitors scored on a scrambly play late in the second half.
“It was a fairly close game up to then and really a very tense game, as well,” said Iain Baird, Dover coach.
That intensity was raised one more notch as the game got into injury time.
“We were taking defenders off, we were putting people up front, and Oak Bay just packed everyone back, just hanging on.”
Somehow, Dover midfielder Jon Bethell found himself open in the box and hammered home the tying goal.
“The whistle blew less than a minute later,” Baird said.
The tie meant that the smaller Dover team had slayed the bigger, more physical Oak Bay team.
It also meant an Island final against a Claremont team with which Dover matched up well.
“There’s no teams that are smaller than us and so when we came up against Claremont it wasn’t as physical,” said the coach. “They like to play more and it gave us room to play too. It really suited us.”
Keegan Lang scored what held up as the championship-winning goal in the first half and David Gain added an insurance marker in the second half.
Alex Anderson, playing hurt, recorded the shutout.
“We really played well in the final game against Claremont, that was by far our best game,” Baird said.
Provincials will be held in Burnaby from Nov. 24-26.