Ajax Thunder '97 Rep Girls Soccer Team: 2008 Season in Review

Sunday, May 18
Mississauga International Tournament - Just Short of the Semi's
Mississauga Falcons Logo

The Thunder started the 2008 season this weekend with the Mississauga International Tournament.  The U11 Division consisted of 8 teams with the Thunder playing the preliminary round in a pool with the host Mississauga Falcons, Aurora Stingers and Glen Shields Sun Devils. 

Game 1 vs Aurora Stingers - The season began on a great note as the Thunder came out playing hard and were buzzing around the Aurora net to start the game.  After numerous chances, the Thunder finally netted the first goal of the season on a great penalty shot which deflected off the fingertips of the Aurora keeper.  The Thunder kept the pressure on, although seemed to fade a little early in the second half.  However, showing great persistence the Thunder took the sting out of the Stingers as they went ahead 2-0, sealing the victory.  If one game indicates anything, the season ahead looks bright!!

Game 2 vs Mississauga Falcons - This game seemed to start as the opposite to game 1 as the Thunder appeared slow to get going.  However, as the game went on they picked up their level of play.  It was a tight game with few scoring chances at either end.  A great defensive play by one of the Thunder defender's kept the game scoreless, and the final result was a 0-0 draw.

Game 3 vs Glen Shields Sun Devils - The Thunder entered this game in a must win situation.  After a win and tie, it is odd that you have to win (not tie) the 3rd game to advance, but that just showed the level of competition at this tournament.  The rain started to fall as we prepared for the game, but we were ready as we practiced in the rain because as the coach had said previously "soccer players play and practice in the rain"...and play they did!  Another outstanding effort put forth by the girls in this one, but they could not pull it off as Glen Shields took this one 3-0.

All in all a great weekend of soccer as the girls put on a good showing in their first ever 11v11 games.  The coaches and parents are proud of their accomplishment this weekend and look forward to the start of the season this week, in addition to our next tournament in Waterloo.  Thanks to Mississauga for hosting a great event.  The tournament results for the U11 Division are available here.

Waterloo Champions
Sunday, June 15
Waterloo Invitational Tournament - CHAMPIONS!!!!!!
Waterloo Logo

The Waterloo Invitational Tournament was held on June 15th & 16th.  The Thunder played the round robin in a pool versus Waterloo A, Niagara Falls United and the Windsor Future Pro Wolves.  

Game 1 vs Niagara Falls United - The Thunder came out storming to take an early lead in this one.  Although they controlled the play in the Niagara Falls end most of the first half, they eased up for the second half until they were awarded a penalty shot.  A nicely placed shot put the Thunder ahead 2-0 and carried them to their first win of the tournament.  Some encouraging signs as firstly we scored (absent for a few games) and there were some nice passing plays, including a beauty give and go for a great scoring chance.

Game 2 vs Waterloo A - In this game the Thunder continued where they left off in game 1, with some strong play by everyone.  The Thunder scored two nice goals to get a 2-0 lead.  However, Waterloo was awarded a penalty shot with a chance to cut the lead but the shot hit off the crossbar.  The Thunder continued to control the play and hold on to the 2-0 lead for the win.

Game 3 vs Windsor Future Pro Wolves - Having locked up a berth in the semi-final, the Thunder were playing this one for first place in the division.  The Thunder did not seem to have lost a step after already playing two games, as they won 3-0 with no shots against.  So the round robin ends with 3 wins, 7 goals for, and 0 goals against....first place!

Semi-Final - Thunder Bye - Amid great controversy and as a result of our team staff standing firm on what was right, the Thunder ended up with a bye in the semi-final.

Championship - Thunder vs. Kitchener Spirit - Having both earned the right to play for the championship, the two first place teams from each pool put on a great show for the fans.  Carrying the balance of play, the Thunder created many great scoring chances but were unable to buy a goal.  The Thunder continued to play a strong two-way game as Kitchener struggled to get past our defensive pillers.  Time was winding down in the game and everyone was thinking overtime and a potential shoot-out.  However, the Thunder were awarded a corner kick and the Thunder capitalized and scored the winner with merely 4 seconds left on the referees clock.  A thrilling 1-0 victory to cap off the tournament which was filled with many positive signs and most importantly the confidence in knowing that they can score!!

Congratulations to the girls and coaching staff on a great performance and thanks to our Manager Roxanne for organizing a fun weekend at our first hotel tournament!!

We Are the Champions

Sunday, June 29
The Robbie International Tournament - One Goal From Semi's
Robbie Logo

The ever popular Robbie International Tournament was held June 29-30th.  The Thunder competed in a pool verus the Wexford Panthers, Vaughan Azzurri and Ottawa South United (OSU) Force.  The winner from each pool, along with a wildcard, advanced to the semi-finals. The following is a summary of the weekend for the Thunder, but refer to the tournament website for the complete results.

Game 1 vs Wexford - After starting at a pace to give the coaches and parents great concern, the Thunder picked up their play and created some scoring chances.  A highlight reel goal by the Thunder opened the scoring...a perfect cross with a great deflection past the Wexford keeper.  The Thunder would go on to add another nice one before Wexford would find the back of the Thunder net on a corner kick.  Although Wexford pushed hard to tie it, the Thunder hung on to win the opening game of the tournament 2-1.

Game 2 vs Vaughan - The fans had barely taken their seats when the Thunder scored a beauty on the first rush of the game.  Not to be outdone, Vaughan quickly answered back....and then some.  Vaughan, first place in their league and having won both tournaments they entered this season, would take this match 4-2.

Game 3 vs Ottawa - Entering this game, the Thunder were in control of their destiny....they required a 4 goal differential to have a chance to advance as the wildcard.  A 4-0 win and they would be competing in penalty kicks with the Pickering Strikers to determine the wildcard winner.  Scoring 5 or more goals with a 4 goal differential and the Thunder would take the wildcard.  It took a while, but the Thunder got the only goal of the first half.  Having struggled to score at times this season, asking for at least 3 goals in 25 minutes was asking a lot, but incredibly the girls delivered.  Going into the final minutes of the game the Thunder held a 5-1 lead after dominating the second half.  However, Ottawa began to come on in the last 3 minutes and were awarded a penalty kick due to a hand ball in the box.  Thinking that all the Thunder scoring may have been in vain, the Ottawa kicker hit it off the post and the 4 goal differential remained intact.  However, unbelievably Ottawa was awarded another penalty kick with less than a minute remaining.  The Thunder keeper stopped it, but Ottawa jumped on the rebound and scored, resulting in the Thunder finishing the game one goal short of the semi's.

All in all, despite the heartbreaking ending to the 3rd game, the Thunder played a strong tournament.....well done girls!! 

Ajax Champions!!
Sunday, July 13
Ajax Tournament - CHAMPIONS!!!

The Thunder hosted their home tournament this weekend.  There were eight U11 girls teams and the Thunder played the preliminary round in a pool with Saltfleet Orange Crush, Wexford Lynx and Ajax Panthers.  In addition, there was a skills competition for all teams.  The complete results are posted on the tournament website.  The game summaries are as follows:

Game 1 vs Saltfleet -  The Thunder started strong and quickly jumped out to an early 1-0 lead.  Saltfleet increased their level of play and this game would turn out to be a back and forth affair with teams trading goals.  Although the Thunder out-chanced their opponent with several shots hitting the post or going just wide, the game would remain close and end in a 3-2 advantage for the Thunder.

Game 2 vs Wexford - The Thunder played a strong game both offensively and defensively resulting in a 10-0 win.

Game 3 vs Ajax Panthers - Another strong game with the Thunder showing some great ball control and passing.  A 5-0 win.

Pool Party at Bruno's - After 3 wins, everyone was invited to the Bruno's for a pool party and BBQ.  It was a great time, with lots of food (including Lammana shrimp!) and a wild water ballon fight in the pool.  Thanks for your hospitality Bruno's!! 

Semi-Final vs Ajax Hornets - After the pool party, everyone hoped the girls saved some energy for the Sunday games.  Given the start by the Thunder in this game, I think the coaches are considering a pool party the night before every game (but you better check with them)!!  The Thunder controlled the play in the Hornets end for the first half and jumped out to an early lead.  However, the Hornets were a different team in the second half and there were good chances at both ends.  However, the Thunder were too much to handle on this day as they advanced to the Championship Game with a 4-2 win.

Championship vs North Mississauga Panthers - The battle began at 11:30 am and ended an hour later with the Thunder coming out victorious!!  The Thunder opened the scoring and were dominant in the first half.  However, the Panthers made some adjustments to their line-up for the second half and it paid off as they scored early in the second half.  In response, the Thunder made their own adjustments and shut down the Panthers strongest player.  They went on to score two more goals to seal the victory and be crowned champions!

Congrat's to the team on a great performance over the weekend.  Clearly this team is headed in the right direction as they continue to show obvious improvement with every game (thanks coaches!).  Thanks also to all who helped make this tournament a success.

Thornhill Tournament Champions
Sunday, August 17
Thornhill Challenge Cup Tournament - CHAMPIONS!!!
Thornhill Logo

The Thornhill Challenge Cup Tournament was held on August 16/17th.  There were 8 teams in the U11 girls division.  The Thunder competed in a pool with the Barrie Spirit B, Waterloo Shooting Stars, and Lake Simcoe United.  The preliminary round results tell the story of the first day:

Game 1 vs Barrie: Thunder win 6-0

Game 2 vs Waterloo:  Thunder win 5-0

Game 3 vs Lake Simcoe:  Thunder win 7-0

Click here for all the preliminary round standings.   As Chanel said in our Guestbook, "Great first day, we did it lets continue with the passing and scoring. GO THUNDER, GO."

Semi-Final vs Oshawa Kicks:  Building on their strong play of the preliminary round, the Thunder continued their winning ways.  A 2-0 win would secure their berth in the final.

Final vs Richmond Hill:  With both teams heading into the final with a 2-0 semi-final win, it was only fitting that this one would be close.  The Thunder would carry the play for most of the game, but when no chances were being capitalized on, everyone was beginning to wonder if all our goals were used up in the preliminary round.  Through 60 minutes of regulation, the game was scoreless.  On to 20 minutes of overtime, but it did not help resolve anything.  So, on to penalty kicks.  The first shooters for both teams were unable to score, but the Thunder would make no mistake on the second shot.  It turned out that this was all that would be required as they would hang on to win the penalty kicks 1-0 (without using their 5th shot).  Given they dominated most of the game, it was appropriate that the Thunder would take the victory and pick up the BIG hardware!!  

Click here for all the elimination round results.  Thanks to Thornhill for hosting a well-run tournament.  Congratulations to the girls and team staff on their third tournament win of the season!! 

Saturday, August 23
CESL Cup - Road to the Cup Ends Short of Final

The CESL Cup tournament has ended for the Thunder and the results are available on the CESL website.  See 'Cup Schedule Only' on the menu. 

The Thunder had a bye in the first round and played their first game versus the Wexford Panthers on Friday August 8th.  This game determined who would advance to the CESL Cup Weekend on August 23rd/24th in Uxbridge.  After locating a ref, this game started slow but picked up to be an exciting victory for the Thunder.  The Thunder took the lead in the first half after a tremendous long kick over the head of the Wexford keeper.   Everything seemed to come together for the Thunder as some great passing would result in two more goals being scored.  Good defensive play held the Panthers off the scoreboard, resulting in a decisive 3-0 win.  A great complete team effort!

The Thunder then advanced to the quarter-finals versus the Ajax Panthers at the Cup Weekend.  The Thunder started slow in this one, but picked up their play with the result being a 5-0 victory.  This win moved the Thunder on to the semi-finals versus Darlington.

The semi-final would prove to be more challenging as the Thunder would go down a goal in the first half.  Although they played strong in this half, they could not finish on any of their chances.  However, after a talk from the coaches at halftime it did not take long in the second half to tie it up.  Once again, the Thunder would have numerous chances but were unable to find the back of the net.  However, unfortunately Darlington did and would fend off the Thunder attack and ride the one goal lead to the final whistle...final score Darlington 2, Thunder 1.

Thus ends a good run for the cup, but it was not to be this year.....great effort girls!!