After three years of falling short, things finally came up golden for the Muskie boys’ soccer team.
The team captured its first NorWOSSA title since 1999 with a 1-0 win over the Dryden Eagles on penalty kicks in Thursday’s final in Kenora.
The win marked double gold for the Muskies as the girls’ team made it five-straight titles—and their 12th in 16 years—with a 1-0 win over Beaver Brae (Kenora) in their final there Thursday.
“The guys were never so happy. It was unbelievable. They all played great,” said Muskie boys’ co-coach Rick Chambers, whose son, Bryan, netted the third and deciding goal in the 3-2 shootout win.
Matt Basaraba and Bryce Witherspoon scored the other goals while Muskie keeper Dan Poperechny stopped three of five shots to preserve the victory.
The boys, who came out of Pool ‘A’ as the second seed behind Dryden, advanced to the final after edging the defending champion Kenora Broncos—tops in Pool ‘B’—by a 1-0 score in the semi-finals earlier yesterday.
Basaraba scored early in that game and then the black-and-gold turned up their defence to shut down the Broncos.
“That game went back and forth. To me, that was the championship,” said Chambers, adding he was pleased how the boys had bounced back from a hot-and-cold Wednesday, when they dropped their opener in pool play to the Eagles in a shootout before blowing out St. Thomas Aquinas 7-0.
In girls’ action, Shannon Koval banged in the winner early in the first-half en route to their narrow win over the host Broncos.
The Muskies—the top team from Pool ‘A’—had needed an overtime goal by Nicole Rogozinski to edge St. Thomas Aquinas, the second-place team from Pool ‘B,’ 1-0 in the semi-finals earlier yesterday.
The girls had breezed through pool play Wednesday with easy wins over Dryden (10-0) and Red Lake (8-0).
Both Muskie teams now advance to NWOSSAA—involving the champs from Thunder Bay and the North Shore of Superior—on June 1. The girls will travel to Manitouwadge while the boys head off to the Lakehead.
The NWOSSAA champs will advance to the all-Ontarios later in June.