U14 Boys Team 2 - Collingwood Invitational Champions
Not 1, not 2, but 3 shoot outs in a row leading to the championship for the U14 Boys T2 in the Collingwood United Invitational!!! Lead by wonderful coaches Peter Bulfon and Umit Akin, and coming off their great showing in the Frank Sobil Classic in Oshawa, the boys arrived in Collingwood determined to prove that they could compete against some of the best teams in Ontario. The first game on Saturday started with a 4-1 loss against a very strong Oakville squad. Aurora was strong, but it only took a few gaps in the play to allow Oakville to score and win the game. There was determination and focus going into the next game with Paris FC, resulting in a 1-1 tie. This set the stage for a quarter-Final against a strong Woolwich squad from the next division. The skies threatened, but the thunderstorms held off. The game was hard fought, with emotions running high. With the game nearing the final 10 minutes, and Paris up 1-0, the ref called a 2nd yellow card against a key Aurora player......we were down to 10. Then, the unexpected happened! Aurora picked up the pace, and 10 boys started looking like 11, or 12 or more......Aurora was all over Woolwich. Only a few minutes to go, when the equalizer went sailing in from a header off a beautiful corner kick. Woolwich was dazed, and was almost down for the count, and only saved by the final whistle......it would go down to penalties. The first five shooters were lined up for each team. As they had been trained all spring, the boys sent their shots to their intended targets, one after the other. Joey, the amazing Aurora keeper came close once, but then snagged the next one. The shooters came through. 5-4 Aurora. They would be in the semi's on Sunday.
The skies were bright and clear for Sunday morning's semi-final, and the heat was building. Aurora would face a very strong Leaside squad. They fought and challenged and ground their way to a 0-0 tie, much to the disbelief of the Leaside coaches. Penalties again!! Leaside first, Aurora last, with a different mix of shooters from the day before. Shot....easily saved by Joey, then a goal by Aurora, immediately putting Leaside behind the eight ball. 0-1. 1-2. 2-2. 3-4. Leaside needed to score.....shot....save by Joey....Aurora was in the finals!!
The finals were against Oakville, the team which we had lost against in our first game, and by 3 goals. It was noon, the heat and humidity were high, and the boys, parents and coaches were tired. Still, we were determined to try and give it our best, and hold our heads high. 60 minutes of hard playing, digging and shooting. Plenty of opportunities on both sides, with Aurora startling and challenging Oakville with plenty of great opportunities to end up again in a 0-0 tie. A shootout again. Could we do it 3 in a row? Yet another mix of shooters for Aurora. Aurora shooting first 1-1. 2-2. 3-3. 4-4. 5.......4! Joey makes a fantastic save to end the day with the trophy for Aurora. A fantastic finish!!
Oh a fringe benefit of winning was meeting Coach Umit's challenge that he would shave his head if we won.