Heading into the men’s Borderland soccer final Sunday, Triple A knew full well the offensive firepower of tagg’s, who topped the local league during the regular season.
And they got a first-hand taste of that onslaught as tagg’s breezed to a 5-0 shutout to win their first league title after three-straight trips to the championship final.
It was sweet revenge for tagg’s, who were beaten 3-0 in the final last year against Gillons’ (who became Triple A this season).
Mike Webb, who netted 19 goals to lead the league during the regular season, did most of the damage against Triple A with three goals in the second half.
Jared Lessman, one of the younger players on a very veteran tagg’s lineup, opened the scoring around the 20-minute mark of the first half when he picked up a loose ball and drilled a shot just inside the right goalpost past Triple A keeper Rod Cunningham from about 15 yards out.
Gord Keesic scored the other goal for tagg’s.
Veteran forward Olaf Ruppenstein, who was dazzling Sunday on the wings with his ball control, said this year’s win was a welcome change from the upset losses in the final the past two seasons.
“For sure because it took the monkey off our backs,” he said. “I think some guys were talking about those last two losses and we had a talk about it before the game.
“And then the guys went out and everyone played really well,” he added.
As well as the team played as a group, especially on defence in limiting Triple A to a minimal number of quality scoring chances, Ruppenstein said they benefited greatly from the speed and goal-scoring ability of Webb to bolster their already potent attack.
“He’s so quick and his scoring touch is unreal,” he remarked. “He’s a big part of our game.”
Triple A knew they would have their hands full with tagg’s, fresh off a victory at the “Borderland Ball Blast” tournament here earlier this month.
“Actually, [their offensive attack] didn’t surprise me at all,” said Triple A player Jason Kabel.
“I felt we were outmatched talent-wise so we would have had to play well defensively and then take our chances when the situation came,” he explained.
Triple A also was without their leading scorer in Daniel Ribeiro (due to other commitments), and then they were slowed by injuries during the final to Stoppa Bosko and defender Keith Gilbert.
Still, Triple A did a few quality scoring chances after falling behind 1-0 on Lessman’s goal. They were awarded a direct kick from just outside the box, and then were given an indirect inside it minutes later, but could not capitalize on either one.
Those missed chances would soon haunt Triple A in the second half when Webb scored his first of three. That goal seemed to deflate Triple A as Keesic soon scored on a nice shot to the far left corner.
Webb then iced the championship with a pair of goals.
tagg’s reached the final with a 2-0 shutout over the Falls last Tuesday while Triple A advanced with a 2-1 win over the Falls on Friday.