A year later, it will be game on for all the marbles once again between two foes very familiar with one another.
The Borderland Soccer League women’s division championship game on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. will feature a rematch between defending champion Taggs/Source for Sports and this year’s regular-season champion La Place Rendez-Vous U-18 Voyageurs after both teams captured their respective semifinals last night at the Struchan Gilson Soccer Pitch.
Taggs received a natural hat trick from league goal-scoring leader Jess Caul (20 goals) in the second half to break open a 2-1 game at halftime and roll to a 5-2 victory over Al’s Racquet Stringing.
Myan Miller and Sara Roach added singles against Al’s goalkeeper Phyllis Pierson, while Katie Stearns picked up the win in goal for Taggs, which beat the Voyageurs in a penalty kick shootout in last year’s final.
Katie Beninger and Claire Crichton replied for Al’s, which finished second ahead of third-place Taggs in the regular season, but will now have to settle for a spot in tomorrow night’s third-place game at 6:30 p.m.
Its opponent will be last-place Boston Pizza, who didn’t have enough hands on deck to counter a tidal wave of offence in a 13-0 Vous victory that was played using only two 30-minute halves rather than the usual 45 minutes.
The league’s expansion team fielded just seven players for the match, with the Voyageurs’ Alyssa Faragher donning a blue Boston Pizza jersey as she has previously this season to help somewhat balance out the two sides.
Erin Tomalty (18 goals this season, second in the league) torched the pizza posse for six goals in the win.
She had plenty of help, with Jenny Hammond and Siobhan Mackintosh each notching a pair, while Myla Angus, Angel McCormack and Maggie Jean all potted singles.
Bryanna Dustin posted the shutout between the pipes for the Vous, while Kari-Lynn Beckett started for Boston Pizza before being replaced by Rebecca Arndt for the remainder of the contest.
Tonight, the men’s division will sort out its title-game contestants as they hold their semifinals at 6:30 p.m.
First-place Manitou Forest Products (9-3-4) will try to break its first losing streak of the season (two games) and look to avoid the upset against last-place Pharmasave (2-12-2).
It will be a confident Pharmasave squad coming in, though, as it beat an understaffed Manitou side 6-0 in their last encounter for its first win of the season and then followed that up by edging the La Place Rendez-Vous U-18 Voyageurs 2-1 to enter the postseason on a two-game winning run.
The defensive strategy for Pharmasave will most certainly centre around stopping the league’s most dangerous sniper for the past two seasons now, Manitou’s Ahmadou Idrissou, who led the circuit with 17 goals this year while none of the rest of his teammates scored more than five (Carter Chorney).
But the bigger problem could wind up being finding a way to solve Manitou goalkeeper James Pavier, who lost just once in 13 appearances and piled up a league-high seven shutouts.
Jeremy Nussbaumer and Olaf Ruppenstein each notched four goals to lead Pharmasave this season, while netminder Josh Bye will try to hold off the Manitou attack.
The other semifinal will pit second-place and defending champion International Travel Services (8-3-5) against the third-place Voyageurs (6-7-3).
ITS comes in having won three straight and will rely on a three-pronged attack featuring team goal-scoring leader Cam Gobeil (nine goals), Garnet Cornell (eight) and Zach Koomans (six).
Goalkeeper Britton Green will attempt to stay flawless on the year if he gets the call, as he is unbeaten in four appearances and has two individual shutouts and a third shared one to his credit.
However, it could end up being Kurt McGuire drawing the assignment, with McGuire also having 2.5 shutouts on his resume this season.
The Voyageurs will lean heavily on striker Kevin Metke, who tallied seven times this year, four more than anyone else on the squad.
Metke will need the likes of Aaron Kavanaugh (three goals) and Adam Stromberg (two) to offer offensive support.
It will be a game-time decision as to who patrols the cage, with Justin Angus (2-1-1, two shutouts) and Alex Gustafson (2-2-2) each showing well in multiple opportunities this season.
The winners will duke it out on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the championship game, while the losers will shuffle into the consolation final tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m.