The Stingers dominated the game — but it was Vanessa Guerra who made sure her team stayed in the match.
Guerra, one of two seniors on the Parkland Panthers senior girls soccer team, was the game’s busiest goaltender in the opening Ryan Cup semi-final match Thursday, April 29 at Layritz Field in Saanich. The Ryan Cup is an annual battle among Greater Victoria A, AA and AAA girls soccer teams for the city-wide title.
Parkland, who finished fourth among the AA division teams, had the unenviable task of facing Stelly’s, the AAA league winner and last year’s Ryan Cup champs.
For Guerra, it was her final game of the season. Early on, she challenged a Stinger’s player and went down with an injury. Recovering, she stayed in the game, blocking and tipping shots — generally causing trouble for the Stelly’s attackers.
The Stingers missed at least five open nets as they moved the ball quickly and strongly throughout the match. They were able to score three times to seal the win and their coach, Jackie Cunningham, said she is hoping for better in the coming rounds.
“We did OK and we’ve come so far,” said Guerra after the match. “I was impressed, because we are so young (a team).”
Made up mostly of Grade 10 and 11 players, Parkland is building for next season.
“We worked well as a team.”
Stelly’s advanced to their next semi-final Tuesday, May 5 against Oak Bay. (UPDATE: Stelly’s dropped the match 1-nil.) the team hosts the Island AAA finals May 11 and 12, as well as the AAA provincials May 28 to 30 at UVic.
Stelly’s junior girls soccer team, said Cunningham, won its city final match against Reynolds, 1-nil, and play in the junior Island finals May 7 to 8.