Claremont just short of back-to-back B.C. championships

Claremont Spartans girls bounced in provincial soccer finals, 5-2 by Argyle

It’s been a long week for three-year-old Carter Ross.

The youngster oversaw the Claremont Spartans’ trip to Kamloops for the high school girls AAA soccer provincials. And he nearly saw them go back-to-back as B.C. champs.

It’s just the beginning of a life of soccer for the wee Carter, whose mom Julie Ross helped coach the Spartans to second place, losing in the final to the Argyle Pipers, 5-2. Chris Brewer also serves as co-coach on the team.

Oak Bay High, second to Claremont at the Island championship, finished ninth at provincials.

Claremont’s final versus Argyle was a rematch of last year’s final, a penalty-kick win for the Spartans. This time however, it was all Argyle.

“(Argyle) played the better game that day,” Ross said. “We were down 2-0 within 12 minutes, we came back hard but in the second half they outplayed us.”

Carter is likely too young to remember his experience but, if he does, here are a few things he’ll recall of Claremont’s run at the 2011 provincials: the dynamic midfield play of Shannon Elder and Shaylyn Crisp, two of the team’s eight graduating players; the offence of Grade 10 Jenn McNeill, who scored both Claremont goals in the final; the solid defensive line including Sam Lee, Nikki Turner and Annie Walter-Shumka, all of whom will return in 2012.

In pool play, Claremont beat Mt. Baker 5-0 and Centennial 3-0, then tied Kelowna 2-2. That set up a Friday afternoon playoff against South Delta, which Claremont won 3-0.

“I don’t think second in the province is all that bad,” Ross said. “It’s our sixth straight trip to provincials and we hope to make it seven next year.”

While there is a solid foundation to build on, there will be a transition period with the loss of graduates Elder, Crisp, Jocelyn Chalmers and Tessa Tancock, she added.

“It’s always tough with school soccer as it conflicts with outside soccer. Every one of our players plays on a club team and some people (province wide) don’t think (school soccer) is as important. But when you get to provincials, it’s very competitive, and Argyle is a prime example.”