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St. Thomas U14 Cup champs

 U14 Reds complete undefeated season


   Goals by Rickwood and Steen in dying minutes lift St. Thomas to Cup win



  August 28, 2022


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By Rob J. Ross

LONDON, Ont. - It almost came to an end.

With under five minutes remaining the second half, the St. Thomas Reds trailed St. Columban, 1-0, in the Elgin Middlesex District Soccer League U14 girls Cup final.

The Reds, aiming to complete an undefeated season, needed Allie Rickwood and Ruby Steen, to strike minutes apart, and stun St. Columban, 2-1, Sunday, at North London Fields.

St. Thomas finished with a record of 16 wins and one tie, overall in league action, regular season and Cup play.

"I was starting to lose hope towards the end, but as soon as Allie scored I knew we could do it. I was really relieved when I scored," Steen said. "Over time and penalty shots aren't my favourite and I don't think anyone else on my team would look forward to that either."

A lane opened up for Steen, who before she could pass, was persuaded by teammates yelling, to kick the ball at the net.

"If I didn't hear them yell, I probably would've taken extra touches before shooting," said Steen, "and there's a possibility I could've lost that shot if I was too late."

With 15 minutes to go, St. Columban was awarded a penalty shot that could have put St. Thomas down 2-0.

Keeper Kenzie Lazenby read her opponent, made the save and remained in position to keep the deficit at just a goal.

"I was trying to figure out what way she was shooting and how far I would have to jump for it," said Lazenby. "But she went kind of short and I stopped it. It (ball) bounced off me and I thought it was going in, but it hit the post."

St. Thomas had beat St. Columban three previous times.

"The last we played them, (St. Columban) only touched the ball twice and didn't score," Lazenby said. "I think we set ourselves up to believe we would easily win this game. Then they scored one. They were really on the ball today."

St. Thomas had more regular season wins in the tier one division, then the other four teams combined.

"One big thing is passing. I'd say we pass at least twice as much compared to last season. We also played around with our creativity," said Steen.

Steen and captain Kylie Todd, each scored 21 goals, for two-thirds of the team's 64 total goals.

"We are a great team that has been together for so long and we have such a great connection with each other," said Todd. "We all have such a amazing bond that helps us on and off the field."

Todd adds the players credit head coach Justin Lawrence for their success and skill development, for not only this year, but over past seasons.

"We couldn't have done this without coach Justin. He has been there since the beginning for most of us and he is the reason we are the team we are today. He is the best coach we could possibly ask for and we couldn’t have done this without him. He is always so encouraging and knows exactly how to help each player to reach their full potential. None of this could have happened without him."

Katelyn Broadhead had nine goals this season, while Abigail Faris and Lily Nelson, both had three.

Lazenby had nine shutouts.

"It was an honour to be a captain of such an incredible group of girls," Todd said. "Each girl brought a special gift to the team and it is amazing how close we are on and off of the field."



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