© Steven Mah
The Swift Current Comp. Ardens soccer team capped an incredible season with a silver medal at 3A SHSAA Provincials in Weyburn on Saturday. Pictured back row (L-R) - Britney Cleaveley, Leia Anderson, Kaylynn Ziegler, Tara Schmidt, Larissa Markewich, Santana Gowan, Shae-Lynn Bolton and Andrea Erlandson. Middle row - Jessica Driver, Jade Addai, Kirstie Klevgaard, Tara Kirkpatrick, Kelsey Therrien, Becky Neustaeter, and Cassandra Furey-Cameron. Front row - Kaylee Kyle, Cassidy Andres, and Emilie Erlandson.
The Swift Current Comp. Ardens soccer team scored a surprise silver medal performance at the 3A Girls SHSAA Soccer Provincials in Weyburn.
The Ardens faced the Saskatoon city champion Evan Hardy Souls in Saturday’s championship match and were victimized by a pair of penalty shots in a 4-2 loss.
The Ardens medal performance matched the program’s top result achieved two other times in the team's 18-year history. The Ardens won silver in 2003, ironically in Weyburn with a two-goal loss to Evan Hardy as well. Swift Current first earned a provincial silver medal in the 1998 season following a 3-1 loss to Saskatoon's Bishop Mahoney.
In Saturday's gold medal showdown, the Ardens trailed 2-0 only 12 minutes into the contest after the Souls scored from the penalty spot and on an own goal.
A couple of Ardens youngsters teamed up only one minute later to cut the deficit in half when Kelsey Therrien flew down the wing and headed in a 40-yard cross from rookie Jade Addai in the 13th minute.
The game was played to a standstill for the next 50 minutes until Cassidy Andres wove her way through the Souls’ defense and was hauled down inside the penalty area. She calmly converted the ensuing penalty kick to tie the game 2-2.
Evan Hardy eventually wore down the Ardens though and scored in the 75th and 80th minutes to clinch the game despite a strong goaltending effort from Cassandra Furey-Cameron as the Ardens settled for a well-earned silver medal.
They had faced elimination early in the tournament when they fell behind 2-0 to Regina Campbell only 14 minutes into the quarterfinals during a pedestrian first-half performance.
The Ardens rallied from a two-goal deficit for a third time this season with second half goals from Andres and Addai to force extra time.
Andres slashed through the Tartans defense during the first overtime period and was dragged down before scoring from the penalty spot to clinch the 3-2 overtime win.
Meanwhile, the eighth seeded Weyburn Eagles stunned the top ranked LeBoldus Golden Suns in a shootout to eliminate the Regina city champions.
The Ardens faced their Moose Jaw League rivals in the semi-finals and came up with a dominating performance to defeat the host squad 3-0 on goals from Andres, Addai, and Kaylee Kyle.
The Ardens finished the season with a 17-2 record, outscoring their opponents 116-15.
The silver medal effort capped the careers of three fourth-year starters. Andres, Kyle, and sweeper Emilie Erlandson all playedtheir final games in the blue, red, and white of the Ardens as they finished 69-12-2 over four seasons and were unbeaten in 45 Moose Jaw League games over that span.
Kyle started for four seasons in the Ardens midfield. She scored 16 goals as an Arden and was a steady performer battling against theother teams’ top players in the central midfield.
Erlandson started from day one in the Ardens fullback corps and took over the sweeper position during her final two seasons. She always an anchor at the back, but played up front enough to score 34 goals during hercareer as well.
Andres graduates as the Moose Jaw League’s runaway all-time scorer with 84 goals over 32 games. She leaves the Ardens with 152 goals overall and led the Ardens in both goals and assists during her final two seasons.
A total of 15 members of the Ardens will be eligible to return next season to defend the team’s four straight Moose Jaw League titles.