Tritons capture two Canada West soccer titles

The Esquimalt Tritons women’s and men’s soccer teams won the Canada West regional qualifying tournaments in Edmonton, Alta.

The Esquimalt Tritons women’s and men’s soccer teams won the Canada West regional qualifying tournaments in Edmonton, Alta.

Peter Mallett
Staff Writer

In September, the Esquimalt Tritons will compete for the National Championship in men’s and women’s soccer at CFB Borden.

The blue and gold earned berths in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) National Soccer Championship tournament after both teams went undefeated at this year’s Canada West regional qualifying tournaments in Edmonton, Alta.

“We did it,” said Lieutenant (Navy) (Lt(N)) Courtney Looye-Pohoney of the Regional Cadet Support Unit (Pacific) (RCSU(P)), Esquimalt Team Captain-Player, after sweeping the tournament hosts by a combined score of 7-2, in a two-game series that wrapped up on Aug. 12.

It was the first time in several years that enough players were available for two fully rostered teams to compete for a Canada West regional title, Lt(N) Looye-Pohoney said. In past years, Tritons players had participated in development camps in place of a regional tournament.

“All the practices and exhibition matches leading up to the tournament paid off for the Tritons and I believe that this hard work will give us a very good chance to be a title contender at the CAF Nationals,” she said.

Lt(N) Courtney Looye-Pohoney plays fullback for the Tritons. She credited Esquimalt’s exceptional goalkeeping duo of Sailor First Class Stephanie Vibert of HMCS Malahat and Master Corporal (MCpl) Holly Dronyk of RCSU(P) for the team’s success and for allowing only two goals against over two games. She congratulated Master Sailor Veronica Leslie of Naval Fleet School (Pacific) and her solid defensive play on the Triton’s backline, which helped limit opposition scoring chances and shots on goal.

“Everyone on the team from front to back gave it all they had on game days and that led to great team cohesiveness,” said Lt(N) Courtney Looye-Pohoney, adding that having the opportunity to compete in full-fledged matches was a motivating factor. “Steve LeBlanc, our coach and a retired CAF member, has also tremendously added to the success of our woman’s team by devoting his time to run all our practices.”

Lt(N) Adelaide Fernley of Canadian Forces Health Services (Pacific) was named Player of the Game after scoring two goals in a 3-2 win over Edmonton in the Tritons’ first game on Aug. 10. Sub-Lieutenant Kiera Gelston of the Base Comptroller’s Office scored Esquimalt’s other goal.

In their second match two days later, Acting Sub-Lieutenant (A/SLt) Cheryl Malamino of HMCS Venture scored twice and earned Player of the Game honours in a 4-0 victory that cemented the Canada West title for the Tritons and a berth in Nationals. A/SLt Sarah Nissan of Base Administration and A/SLt Gabby Lent of Venture also scored for Esquimalt. 

The victory in Edmonton marked Esquimalt’s ninth regional team sports title for 2023. The Tritons women’s soccer team will compete in the CAF National Championship tournament at CFB Borden from Sept. 23 to 30.

Sailor First Class Nathaniel Hartley dominates

Our men’s team registered four wins and a tie in their march to the Canadian Armed Forces National Soccer Championships. 

Sailor First Class (S1) Nathaniel Hartley scored all four goals as the Tritons men defeated Edmonton 4-1 in their Canada West championship game on Aug. 17. The target man of HMCS Vancouver was also named championship game and tournament MVP for his superior quickness and clinical finishing in front of goal.

Petty Officer First Class (PO1) Jermaine Pedro of the Naval Tactical Operations Group, Esquimalt Coach, also credited Tritons Team Captain and midfield general MCpl Maxime Hache of 39 Service Battalion for his stellar play throughout the tournament.

PO1 Pedro says their rematch with Edmonton began closely contested, with Esquimalt going into the halftime break with a 2-1 lead. 

“Our team continued to fight for the win and our youthful determination and energy carried us on and pushed us to the next level,” PO1 Pedro said. “At Nationals, we will need to focus on one game at a time and I think we have a strong enough team to challenge all opponents we face.”

In Round Robin play, Esquimalt defeated CFB Shilo in their opening game on Aug. 14, tied Edmonton 2-2, and defeated Comox 1-0. Esquimalt needed extra time to defeat Comox 4-2 in their semi-final before advancing to the championship game played later that day.

PO1 Pedro congratulated his team for overcoming the fatigue of playing 120 minutes of full-out soccer against Comox in scorching summertime temperatures over 30 degrees and having the energy and determination to prevail in their championship match against Edmonton only a few hours later. He said a quick dip in the CFB Edmonton Rec Center’s swimming pool for recovery drills and a motivational conversation led by MCpl Hache and the team’s other leaders did the trick.

Players on both teams were keeping the memory of their fellow player, coach, and friend PO1 Carlos Cea close throughout every game this season. PO1 Pedro said his support to the team and enthusiasm contributed greatly to the men’s team succeeding at Regionals and his memory was a massive motivator for players from both teams. The teams held a moment of silence at Colville field and retired his #8 jersey in his honour. His jersey is printed on the home bench, still with the team on the field where he loved to be.

Ontario is the next stop for our men’s and women’s teams, who will compete in the CAF National Championship tournament at CFB Borden, Sept. 23 to 30.

Filed Under: Top Stories


About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.