A last-second penalty-kick goal by Jack Napier-Ganley secured the North Island AA boys soccer title for Brentwood College School on Tuesday afternoon.
Napier-Ganley, Brentwood’s acting captain in the absence of the injured Juan Navarro, scored his second goal of the game as Brentwood edged Gulf Islands Secondary School to claim the North Island championship.
“It was a tight, back-and-forth game,” Brentwood coach Wes Barrett said. “Both teams had good chances. We probably had more chances overall.”
Napier-Ganley’s heroics at the final whistle prevented the match from going to extra time, but Barrett would have been confident if his team had to play some additional soccer, noting that Brentwood’s longer bench was an asset as they played four games over two days.
“Both teams were pretty tired, but I think we had a bit more legs,” he said. “In the round robin, we were able to cycle players through.
“Everyone playing their part was a big part of our success in the final. If it had gone to overtime, I think we would have been good.”
Brentwood breezed through the round-robin portion of the tournament, beating Shawnigan Lake School and Ladysmith Secondary by 4-0 scores, and Brooks by a 3-0 final.
Brentwood will be the first seed from the North going into the Island AA tournament hosted by St. Michaels University School in Victoria next Monday and Tuesday, playing in a group that includes Carihi, Stelly’s and Mark R. Isfeld.
“We haven’t played Carihi yet,” Barrett commented. “That will probably be our toughest game. Stelly’s we haven’t seen either, so I don’t really know what they’ll be like. SMUS is typically one of the stronger teams, and they’re on the other side of the bracket, and GISS is strong, too, and they’re in the other pool. If I was a betting man, I’d say we’ll be as competitive as anyone else.”
The top three teams at Islands will advance to the provincial championships, with a possible berth for a fourth team, depending on how things shake out elsewhere.
Regardless of how Brentwood feels going into the tournament, Barrett knows none of that matters if the team doesn’t perform on the pitch.
“The beautiful thing about this game is that it isn’t given to you,” he said. “You have to work for it.”
Brentwood’s junior team hosted their own Island championship tournament this past Monday and Tuesday, finishing fifth in a highly competitive field. The Brentwood juniors lost to Carihi and beat Reynolds in pool play. They led Isfeld 1-0 late in their last match, only to see the Courtenay school come back to win with two goals in the last five minutes. Barrett noted that he will probably call up five junior players to the senior team for the rest of the senior season.