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Terry Wilson Cup goes to Prince Rupert

Annunciation Knights goalie Aaron Roubicek wasn't happy with himself when he gave up the first goal of the game to St. Ann's Academy Crusaders. Roubicek got mad, but his teammates got even.
Players from St. Mary’s school and Immaculate Conception school chase after the ball during the Terry Wilson Memorial Cup soccer tournament at the Rotary Soccer Fields Friday. This year’s tournament had 20 teams representing 10 schools from seven cities.

Annunciation Knights goalie Aaron Roubicek wasn't happy with himself when he gave up the first goal of the game to St. Ann's Academy Crusaders.

Roubicek got mad, but his teammates got even.

Down 1-0 to their Kamloops opponents midway through the second half of the Terry Wilson Memorial Cup Catholic school soccer final Friday at Rotary Field, the Knights scored two goals within a two-minute span and hung on to beat the Crusaders 2-1.

Sehjot Sahdra stripped the ball away from a Crusader defender and launched a high shot into the net over the outstretched arms of goalie Andy Dubeau, and Daniel Cachero fired the winner with three minutes to play to send the Cup to Prince Rupert for the first time in the four-year history of the event.

"I just got a good pass and had a clear shot," said Cachero, struggling to catch his breath after being mobbed by his teammates. "I just had so much energy and adrenaline after Sehjot scored his goal. We were just pumped and wanted to score. I just loved the competition and being able to play with my schoolmates and my friends."

Roubicek was a big part of the reason the Knights got to the final and was relieved when his teammates starting filling the opposite net after Crusaders sniper Megan Blower collected her 10th goal of the tournament with a shot from the side of Roubicek's cage.

"I got angry when they scored but [Sahdra and Cochero] played well for us," said Roubicek. "I honestly didn't expect to win this tournament because we don't have many people at Annunciation who play soccer, but it turned out well."

Knights coach Janice Fudger said half her players are new to soccer and the team welcomed the chance to play on real grass as opposed to the artificial turf fields available to them in Prince Rupert, even though it required a 10-hour bus trip.

"We heard about it last year and we knew that Terrace won and that gave our team incentive to come here because they wanted to beat them," said Fudger. "We'll probably make it an annual thing."

The tournament is named after Wilson, one of the pioneers of youth soccer development in Prince George, who died in 2010. Crusaders coach Joanne Leggett (nee MacDonald) lived in city from 1998-2002 and learned how to coach from Wilson. When she heard about the tournament she wanted her Kamloops school to get involved.

"I used to be on the technical team of the Prince George Youth Soccer Association years ago and Terry coached me at Shawnigan Lake and he was just an amazing man," said Leggett. "His philosophy of teamwork, he embodied that in everything he did. He was patient with everyone, from the little kids to the elite athletes, just always respectful no matter if was in the heat of the moment he never lost his cool. Everyone admired him and it's just so awesome to be part of this."

Leggett said her team of six girls and three boys played well throughout the tournament, posting a 4-1-1 record.

"We have five kids who don't even play soccer and they're so positive, cheering each other on even when they made a mistake, and they passed to everyone, it wasn't just passing to the boys," said Leggett.

The other Annunciation team lost 6-2 in the B final to the Immaculate Conception Kodiaks of Prince George. In the C final, the St. Mary's Huskies defeated North Cariboo Christian of Quesnel.

This marks the second straight year the trophy has been handed to a team an the western edge of the province. Veritas of Terrace won it last year. St. Mary's of Prince George claimed the 2012 title and St. Ann's of Quesnel won the inaugural event in 2011. After three years as a 12-team tournament, it grew to 20 co-ed teams of Grade 6 and 7 students this year, expanding its boundaries south to Kamloops.

All of the out-of-town teams slept on the hardwood floor of the gym at St. Mary's school, after a night of entertainment from the Pure Witness Ministries retreat team from Saskatoon. A dance for the kids followed Friday's tournament.

Chris Dugdale, superintendent for the eight north central Catholic independent schools, said the tournament is unique in bringing together so many elementary school teams from such a wide expanse of the province. With 225 players, it was the largest Catholic school sporting event ever held in north central B.C.

"It's really neat to include teams from Kamloops, Quesnel and Prince Rupert and Kitimat, just to have a greater sense of community and it connects all the kids," said Dugdale. "The kids look forward to it every year and it's something to be really proud of up here. This is powerful."