Curse dismissed

For a second consecutive year, the Lindsay Thurber Raiders dismissed what at one time seemed like an age-old curse for the boys’ division of the Central Alberta High School Soccer League.

A Notre Dame defender

A Notre Dame defender

Raiders 3 Cougars 0

For a second consecutive year, the Lindsay Thurber Raiders dismissed what at one time seemed like an age-old curse for the boys’ division of the Central Alberta High School Soccer League.

For the first 10 years of the league’s existence, the team that finished first in regular-season play failed to win the overall championship. That changed in 2010 when the Raiders captured the title, and the Thurber squad repeated the feat with a 3-0 win over the Notre Dame Cougars Saturday at the RDC main pitch.

Lindsay Thurber also had motivation on their side Saturday after falling 1-0 to Notre Dame during the regular season.

“These guys (Cougars) ruined the perfect season that we had going,” said Raiders coach Rene Vandervlis. “We took them lightly the first time and the kids vowed not to do that today.

“But kudos to them (Cougars). They made it to the final by beating Hunting Hills (3-2) on penalties. Notre Dame showed a lot of character in winning their semifinal, but our guys were fired up today because we had lost to them earlier in the season. We were a determined bunch.

“This is a veteran team. We have nine Grade 12s who wanted to go out on a high and I think they managed to do that today.”

The Raiders got a huge game from keeper and game MVP Brody Slagman, who not only recorded a shutout but scored once — on a kick from 10 metres inside his own half of the field — and assisted on Hayden Slaymaker’s header marker with another strong boot. Jon Wecker also scored for the champs,

“It’s funny, he (Slagman) got cut from a provincial (soccer) team one year because he couldn’t kick the ball far enough they said,” Vandervlis said. “Here he scores from centre field and was kicking 55-yard field goals (with the football Raiders) last year. He’s had a phenomenal year, giving up just one goal.

“I’m proud of the guys. I’m not sure if I’m going to be back next year as coach. It’s been a 12-year run for me and it’s good to end it like this.”

If in fact Vandervlis is finished as the Raiders coach, he goes out with seven league titles.

Lindsay Thurber crushed the Olds Spartans 7-0 in a semifinal earlier in the day, getting two-goal performances from Slaymaker and Kamal Jamaluddin and single markers from Haydn McLean, Jeff Grab and Karson Sudlow.

In the other boys semifinal, Colton Alexander and Nick Dehod scored for Notre Dame in their 3-2 win — by penalty kicks — over Hunting Hills. Jeremy Gopal had both goals for the Lightning.

Hunting Hills, on goals from Shane Glasser, Nicu Ruicea and Luis Lima, downed Olds 3-1 in the third-place game. Barint Kele scored for the Spartans.

• In boys’ B-side play, Josh Smith fired three goals and Cale Jacobs tallied twice to lead the Lacombe Rams to a 5-1 win over the Sylvan Lake H.J. Cody Lakers. Brandon Duthie scored the lone goal in a losing cause.

Lacombe advanced with an 8-0 semifinal victory over Innisfail. Jacobs scored three times, Fernando Morales had two goals and Sam Jardine, Freark de Vries and Braden Reykdal also connected.

The Lakers, on goals from Duthie, Greg April and Paul Bauer, defeated Central Alberta Christian 3-2 in the other semifinal. Dillon Lehman notched both goals in a losing cause.