The 2022 high-school girls' soccer season is up and running for Airdrie's four teams.
The Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) season began on Sept. 20 with all three local public-school teams in action at Monklands Park in Airdrie. In the first "derby" match between two Airdrie squads, the W.H. Croxford Cavaliers defeated the George McDougall Mustangs 3-0.
On an adjacent pitch, the Bert Church Chargers were shut out by a talented Springbank Phoenix side, who put up double-digit goals against the host team.
“I think we were kind of nervous going into it, but I was really proud of how they did,” said Riley Deraaf, who is coaching the Cavaliers this fall. “I thought everyone put their best foot forward and it was nice to see us translate what we’d done in practice onto the pitch.”
A 2019 graduate of W.H. Croxford and a former member of the Red Deer College women's soccer team, Deraaf said she is enjoying the opportunity to return to her old high school and coach the Cavaliers. She's currently studying health and physical education at Mount Royal University in Calgary, and said the opportunity to coach the Cavs this year arose after she played for the Red Deer Queens in her first year of post-secondary.
With the Cavaliers now 1-0, Deraaf said she's looking forward to the rest of the season. Croxford's next match will be on Sept. 22, when they travel west to face the Cochrane Cobras, who started their campaign with a dominant 8-0 victory over the Bow Valley Bobcats. The Cobras are currently the defending RVSA champion.
“I think it will be tough [against the Cobras] but it seems we have a good group of girls who all enjoy learning. I think it will be a good game,” Deraaf said.
Chargers blanked by dominant Phoenix
At the same time as the match between the Mustangs and Cavaliers, the Bert Church Chargers came up against an extremely talented Springbank side that boasted a handful of provincial-calibre and REX (regional excellence) program players. The Phoenix put up double-digit goals over the Chargers throughout the 90 minutes, including three in the first five minutes.
“We talked about trying to be better each and every outing,” said Andy Kirk, the head coach of the Chargers. “Our wins and losses right now are not going to be huge in terms of the big picture. We need to just continue to get better every time we practice or play our games.
“We saw some improvement throughout the game, but at that point, the girls were sort of shell-shocked after the first half. It was a very tough outing against an incredibly skilled team."
Springbank and Cochrane High have dominated the RVSA girls' soccer league in recent memory, the two jostling for first place while the rest of the league's teams tend to challenge for third. Kirk noted that may be the case again this season, as the Cobras and Phoenix have already stamped their authority with a pair of dominant results.
“In Rocky View, it’s been Cochrane and Springbank dominating for as long as I can remember,” Kirk said.
“We have some wonderful kids. Some are playing club here in Airdrie, while some are new to the game. When you put someone who hasn’t played very much (or any) soccer guarding a provincial or REX player, [it’s tough for them].”
But while Springbank and Cochrane tend to dominate the local high-school girls' soccer league, Kirk noted there tends to be decent parity between Airdrie's three teams, which always makes it interesting when the local teams face each other.
“Croxford has grown into that role where they’re competitive,” he said. “They started off a little shaky, but they’re certainly competitive now with George Mac and us. It makes it exciting in Airdrie. The Airdrie kids play together in club soccer here in Airdrie, and a lot of them know each other and are friends out of school. It’s fun to play against your friends.”
W.H. Croxford lost their second match of the season on Sept. 22 to Cochrane, falling 10-2, while the Mustangs lost 4-3 to the Bow Valley Bobcats on the same day. Bert Church was scheduled to play Bow Valley on Sept. 27 (after press time).
The RVSA girls' soccer games tend to be held on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 4:30 p.m., with all three Airdrie teams playing their home games at Monklands Park. For a schedule, see rvsa.rockyview.ab.ca
Kodiaks boast 2-1 record
Meanwhile, the St. Martin de Porres High School girls' soccer team is off to a positive start in their league. The Kodiaks play in Division 4 of the Calgary Senior High School Athletics Association, and as of the City View's press deadline, had begun their 2022 season with a 2-1-0 record.
After losing 3-0 to Bishop McNally in their season-opener on Sept. 19, St. Martin shut out Lester B Pearson 7-0 and Queen Elizabeth 5-0. The team played John G. Diefenbaker on Monday, but the result was not posted as of Tuesday afternoon.
Their next match is on Sept. 28 on the road, when they travel south to play Father Lacombe at 4:30 p.m.
For the Kodiaks' schedule, see bit.ly/3C0D24X