Last Saturday the Sunshine Coast U-17 Storm rep boys soccer team had their first home game here on the Coast since late-October and, just like last time, they did not disappoint the large contingent of passionate fans who showed up to cheer them on.
Their opponent for this big game was the previously undefeated VUFC Fury, who had scored 18 goals and only allowed four in their previous eight games this season. The two teams had met once before, back in early November when they battled to a thrilling nil-nil draw, featuring many good chances for each team.
However, this time the Sunshine Coast boys were not going to be denied and took the game to the Fury right from the initial kickoff... and they never let up until the final whistle.
The Storm, who had their 11-game undefeated streak snapped in late-November, had only played one other game in 2022 and that was the previous week, when they went into the city and clearly showed their rust, after having been unable to practice for four long weeks due to snow and ice on the fields. They ended up losing that game, their second loss of the season, by a score of 3-1.
This past Saturday, however, there was no rust whatsoever. Playing in front of their hometown fans always brings out the best in the Storm, but this time the boys took it to a whole other level.
Just 12 minutes into the game Billy August was set up by Kaishan Nonacowie for a great goal that involved both a terrific move and a fantastic finish by Billy.
The two teams battled hard all game long, but the score remained 1-0 until, with just 10 minutes remaining, Kaishan cut in along the goal line and put a cross to the far side of the box, which Samuel Uwa perfectly headed back to Taiyo Blackwell right in front of the net. Taiyo then finished it off nicely.
The team almost scored a third beautiful goal when Sasha Kliewer sent Max Joe in on goal with a fantastic through ball that Max finished off brilliantly. Alas, in a really tight call, it was called back for being offside.
So, in the end the Storm won by a final score of 2-0 against a team that had only allowed four goals all season long up until that point.
And, no, for those wondering, Hayden Van Der Stelt did not score another Wonder Goal, like he did during the Storm’s previous home game back in the fall, but he did play one heck of a great game.
As for the defensive side of the game, goalkeeper Duncan Service, along with the amazing backline of Marshall Curtis, Ryder Seabrook, Owen Bichler and Henry Rose – with support from all-star holding midfielder Krystof Krutsky – got a second clean sheet in a row against the Fury, a team that has scored for fun against everyone else in the league.
In fact, the entire team played stellar defense. Scoring goals is important of course, but without top-class defending there’s no way to compete with high level teams. And the Storm’s defense is nothing if not tenacious.
Considering the strength of the opposition on Saturday, this was almost certainly the best game the Storm have ever played. Every single one of the boys played with amazing intensity from start to finish. Such a thrill to watch, for the coaches and fans alike. After a bye this coming week, the Storm are scheduled to play another home game at Cliff Gilker on Saturday, Feb. 5 at noon.
After knocking the Fury out of first place, the Storm, who remain in third place in their Division 1 league, now have to play the new first-place team, the Vancouver Titans. So, they’re looking to knock off the top team in their league two games in a row. The last time the two teams played, the Titans beat the Storm 3-2. This time, the Storm say it’s going to be a whole other story. Come cheer them on to help ensure that that is indeed the case.