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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

A championship season for Essex U11

submitted to EFP

It was an exciting end to the season for Essex U11 Team 2 in the Sun County Soccer League.

The team, sponsored by Nissan of Windsor, squared off on August 14 against its friendly, Essex U11 Team 1, rivals in the final game of the regular season, with the season championship on the line.

Both teams were undefeated and had battled to a tie in a previous regular season matchup.  Essex 2 was down, by a score of 2-1, late in the match, after an earlier goal by forward Cade Smith. Ryan Smith drove one home in the final minutes to tie the game up and set up an exciting finish. In the final moments, Braeden Cavanagh launched a ball into the top of the net for Essex 2 to secure the victory and first place.

The Sun County Soccer League season then culminated with the Wrap Up Tournament on August 18 and 19, featuring six teams competing in the U11 Division: Essex 1, Essex 2, Kingsville, Leamington, Tilbury, and Wheatley.

Essex 2 opened the tournament with a 5-0 victory over Kingsville. Jimmy Hayes and Ryan Smith were all over the Kingsville net, each scoring a pair of goals, with Cade Smith adding another.

In the second game, Essex 2 again proved too much to handle for its opponent, finishing with another 5-0 score over Leamington.  Eddie Hickson was unstoppable, recording a hat trick. Reed Vandervecht and Ryan Smith each added another goal.

The semi-final showdown was between Essex 2 and Wheatley, who had previously handed Essex 2 a heartbreaking shootout loss in the semi-final of the Colasanti Cup Tournament.

Early in the match, Essex 2 was determined, dominating possession and passing the ball with precision. Essex 2 was rewarded in the first few minutes of the game, with a goal from Wyatt Goudie. Meredith Coulter soon helped give Essex 2 some breathing room with a hard-drive in the front of the net, tipped into the mesh by Cade Smith. In the second half, Wheatley finally found an answer to the tight Essex 2 defence, with a goal, and kept the pressure on. However, keeper Noah Martin locked the net down for the remainder of the game and the Essex 2 team battled hard to defend the 2-1 lead until the final whistle.

The Wrap Up Tournament final was an exciting rematch of Essex 1 vs Essex 2. In the first minutes of the match, Reed Vandervecht made a perfect cross to Eddie Hickson, who scored to put Essex 2 up by one. The hard work was not over as the talented Essex 1 team continued to battle hard. The Essex 2 midfielders Eddie Hickson, Caleb Cavanagh, Braeden Cavanagh, Wyatt Goudie, Ryan Smith, and Meredith Coulter were determined to capture the tournament championship and continued to support the defence, while advancing the ball to forwards Jimmy Hayes, Deegan Pratt, Cade Smith, and Reed Vandervecht. Defender Emma Burchiel showed her versatility in jumping up to support the midfielders in this final game.  Defenders Evan Mailloux, Grace Ondracka, Gavin Pyne, Owen Sadler, and Sean Wilson continued the defensive brilliance they had exhibited throughout the season and tournament. Noah Martin made a couple of huge saves as the team captured a third shutout victory in the tournament, and the Championship.

Head coach Kelley Cavanagh and assistant coaches Brendan Smith and Trevor Martin are incredibly proud of this skilled group of competitors, for the work ethic and good sportsmanship exhibited throughout the season. Congratulations Essex U11 Team 2!

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