Submitted by Adrian Pelzer,NCS girls soccer coach
This season, Northside Christian School girls’ soccer team qualified for the first-time to compete in the provincial championships hosted by James Waddell of Fort St. James at Prince George’s Rotary Fields from June 2 to 4.
The athletes earned their place by finishing third at their ‘A’ — the category of the smallest schools — zones tournament in Prince George on May 18 to 20, getting the winning goal from forward Nicole Bublitz in a 1-0 win over Fraser Lake in their final game.
Northside was placed in the toughest of the four pools — each with four teams — that included the defending and eventual four-time champion Immaculata Regional High School from Kelowna, and it also included the team ranked first heading into the tournament.
The girls learned a lot from playing these elite teams and, despite losing all three pool games, earned a reputation for “not knowing when to give up” — as quoted from an opposition player.
They elevated their play to win their final two games, 3-0 over Nakusp and 3-2 over Queen Charlotte, to finish 13th overall out of 16 — there are approximately 50 ‘A’ schools in the province.
Nicole Bublitz, playing with an injury, led the team in scoring with five goals while Emily Friesen anchored the defence. Mary-Skye Gill played the whole tournament in goal for Northside, earning two wins and a shutout. Graduating students Samantha Barg, Stephanie Ludwig, Emily Friesen, and Jenna Kiezebrink played their final games and were recognized along with other Grade 12s at a banquet on Friday night.
There were many other notable performances that are too numerous to mention here, and we are very proud of the whole team for what they have accomplished and learned this year.
Thanks to Tyler Janzen, Mark Schmidt, Bill Schmidt, Cliff Neufeld, Leroy Sturm, and Kevin Bublitz for driving the bus for us this year, and to Jean Bublitz and Michelle Schmidt for their roles in assistant coaching and taping. Finally, thanks to all the parents for your support during this great season!
The team’s success this year can be attributed the level of participation and development, sportsmanship, and having elite skill level at key positions.
Northside Christian School began boys’ and girls’ soccer in 2013 with coach Adrian Pelzer, and have competed at zones in each of the last four seasons. This year, we had 75 per cent of participation among boys in grades 8 to 12 and 62 per cent among girls. We have included Grade 7s on the team for practice and some games, though they are not eligible for zones. We also entered grades 6 to 7 boys and girls in the Terry Wilson Cup in Prince George this year — after learning about it at an independent schools conference in Vancouver — being the only non-Catholic school in the tournament and the only school from Vanderhoof. Northside also has high participation in community soccer at all levels, including one student, Mitchell Austin, helping to coach a younger team.
The focus of sportsmanship included athletes’ respect for each other, the other team and for the rules of the game — playing clean. With enthusiasm and encouragement, the team aims to play the same way and never give up no matter what the score is. Winning is secondary to playing the right way and giving everyone a chance to play. A prayer also takes place before each game.
For Grade 9 student Kylie Neudorf, the provincial championship was a great team-building and friendship-building time.
“We bonded through our wins and losses,” Neudorf said. “We grew together in the sport by playing new teams and we learned a lot.”
Grade 9 student Kara Friesen found it a great experience as well. “I learned a lot from playing against the best teams in the province, and Fort St. James did an amazing job putting it together,” Friesen said.
Julia Friesen, Grade 9, said, “Being the first Northside girls’ soccer team to make it to provincials is definitely an honour.”