Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kelvin soccer team best in the province

Team wins third high school title

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A "baker's dozen" proved lucky for the Kelvin girls' soccer squad.

"This is the 13th year that we've represented our zone in the provincial playoffs, and we've been in the final six times," says Tom Stewart, coach of the team.

His girls defeated Brandon Vincent Massey 3-0 last month to capture their third provincial high school soccer championship. The last time Kelvin won the title was in 1992-'93.

Kelvin captain and forward Melike Leylek notes that the turning point for the team was a first round shootout victory over Springfield Collegiate.

"The team was amazing in that game," says the Grade 12 student, who also plays for the Titans in the Winnipeg Women's Soccer League.

In particular, she praises the efforts of goaltender and tournament MVP Jillian Smith. Teammates Stephanie Rurak, Crystal Zawadowsk and Ali Reardon Smith were also named to the all-star team.

"Without Jillian those shots wouldn't have been saved, even though she was up to her knees in mud," says Leylek, in reference to the fact that Smith stopped two shots from Springfield players during the shootout.

"High school soccer has been one of the best experiences of my life. It's such a short season, but you become so close to your coach and teammates."

She adds that Stewart is a great coach who really "motivated" the team.

In point of fact, says Stewart, Smith didn't have many saves to make against Brandon because the "whole team" played well.

"But in the first game against Springfield Collegiate, we weren't at our best," he recalls.

At half time, Springfield was leading Kelvin 2-0.

"We tied it up in the second half, and in two overtimes nothing happened."

Then, in the shootout, Smith came to the fore.

"She made two fabulous saves against the last two shooters, but they had scored on their first three shots. We scored on our last two and beat them," says Stewart. "They carried the play to us in regulation time, but Jillian held us in the game. Their goalie played well, too. It was a windy, rainy, muddy day. Afterwards we went for breakfast, and you could tell from the talk amongst the players that they were elevating their game to the next level."

They went on to defeat Glenlawn later that afternoon and that put them into the championship game.

"Both teams have players who play for club teams, like most teams in the tournament. We just played better as a team and Jillian made some big saves. In the final, we put on a clinic. It was like the ball was attached by a string to their feet. They (Brandon) had a tough time defending against us," says Stewart, adding that because he had 22 players as opposed to only 15 for Brandon, he was able to put fresh substitutes on every eight minutes.

The other Kelvin players include: Stephanie Appleby, Victoria Sweatman, Emily Mutch, Elizabeth Wagner, Kristen Webster, Brittany MacMillan, Carmen Edwards, Katie Appleby, Rachel Rosenblatt, Heather Gray, Lindsay Biberdorf, Marielle Kenny, Carmen Bettencourt, Carly Meisters, Pam Lapp, Bronwyn Fehr and Caralynn Land.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 18, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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