Ardens take sixth during exciting soccer provincial championship

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The Swift Current Comp. Ardens won their league record fifth MJHSSL title with a 4-0 win over the Vanier Spirits.

The Swift Current Comp. Ardens soccer team battled their way to a sixth place finish at 3A SHSAA provincials over the weekend in Regina.

The Ardens, ranked sixth heading into the eight-team event, scored two goals and allowed only two goals on their way to a 1-2 record during three exciting matches.

The tournament, originally scheduled in Weyburn, had to be relocated to Regina and was played on turf fields at Mosaic Stadium and the University of Regina due to weather conditions. The extremely competitive eight-team field lived up to expectations with eight, one-goal games over 11 matches.

The Ardens opened the tournament with a 1-0 loss to the third ranked Saskatoon Evan Hardy Souls on Friday evening. The Souls went on to win a silver medal with a 1-0 loss to Saskatoon St. Josephs.

The Ardens’ medal hopes may have come to a sudden conclusion, but they would not go away quietly as they eliminated the second ranked Prince Albert Carlton Crusaders in a wild game on Saturday afternoon.

Leading scorer Cassidy Andres staked the Ardens to a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute after Kaity Letwiniuk headed a ball past the Crusaders defense and Andres deked past the goalkeeper and calmly finished into the open net.

Grade nine, Tara Kirkpatrick, netted an insurance marker in the 60th minute when she fired a shot off the crossbar and over the goalline to make it 2-0.

From there the Crusaders pressed the Ardens, but goalkeeper Kaylie Walker was equal to every challenge and the Crusaders missed the goal on a penalty shot with only four minutes remaining to end their tournament without a win.

Saturday evening, only two hours after their physical win over Carlton, the Ardens limped onto the field to face Prince Albert’s St. Mary Marauders where the two teams battled the cold and fog to a bitter stalemate for 81 minutes before the Marauders volleyed a corner kick off the crossbar and in for a 1-0 win.

The Ardens concluded the 2010 season with an 18-5-2 record, including four 1-0 losses to three of the teams that were ranked above them at provincials. They won the Moose Jaw High School Soccer League for the fourth time in five years and captured the SHSAA South Regional Championship. Next season, 14 of 16 players will be eligible to return, including their top seven goal scorers.

Two Ardens careers came to an end in Regina as fourth-year Arden Daryl Wiebe and third-year Arden Danitra Letwiniuk played their final games due to graduation.

“I think that we played amazing at provincials. It was an awesome experience that I will never forget, I will miss all of it,” said Wiebe. “The Ardens soccer team is more than just a group of people that play soccer, it's a group of friends that love the same sport. It is hard to play your last game knowing that you are leaving such an amazing team. Good luck next year Ardens!”

“It is difficult to be upset about our placing at provincials because everyone put their heart into each game right up until the last minute,” added Letwiniuk. “I'm honoured to have been captain for such a talented team, and although saying goodbye to them is tough, I know the team will be even more successful next year and the following years after that.”

Organizations: University of Regina, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw High School Soccer League

Geographic location: Regina, Swift Current, Weyburn Mosaic Stadium Saskatoon

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