Burlington’s speed, defence produce national soccer title

The Burlington Bayhawks have captured Ontario’s second consecutive U-16 girls championship, defeating Manitoba’s FC Northwest Explosion 5-0 at the Canadian Soccer Association National Club Championships 2012 in Charlottetown, PE.

Burlington follows the 2011 Erin Mills Eagles as Ontario’s second consecutive champion.

The Bayhawks asserted their dominance from the opening kickoff, controlling possession and tempo throughout.

Burlington broke through in the fifth minute, as Veronica Johnson cut through the Manitoba defenders and beat Maria Bohun to give the Bayhawks an early lead.

Manitoba’s best chance of the half came in the 11th minute as Carly Vogel cut back on the Ontario defender just outside the 18-yard box to get a shot. However, Burlington keeper Miranda Horn was up to the task, getting down low to make the save.

Ontario widened the gap in the 16th minute, as Nakita Schofield took a shot from outside the 18-yard box that just curled inside the right post for a 2-0 Ontario lead.

Manitoba had trouble containing Johnson throughout the match, further emphasized in the 36th minute as tournament goal scoring leader Andrea Petrina controlled the ball at midfield before turning and sending Johnson in alone on Bohun. Johnson was able to shake off a Manitoba defender and get around Bohun to tuck the ball into the empty net for a 3-0 lead at halftime.

Ontario’s defenders stifled the FC Northwest Explosion attack throughout the game, using their speed to close off the Manitoba forwards and prevent any quality chances from happening.

The score could have been a lot more lopsided, but Bohun kept her team in the game by making many high quality saves to foil the Burlington attack.

It was more of the same in the second half, as Burlington continued to pressure FC Northwest Explosion and control the pace of play.

Burlington put the game further out of reach in the 58th minute, as Johnson found Danielle LaFrance streaking down the right side of the box. LaFrance used her speed to beat the Manitoba defender and drive the ball past Bohun for a 4-0 advantage.

Manitoba did get a couple more chances, but Horn was good when she had to be, posting her third clean sheet of the tournament.

Karen Tamayo put an exclamation mark on the perfect week for Burlington, heading home a LaFrance cross in the 87th minute to make it 5-0.

From there, the celebration was on as the final whistle sounded, as embraces were exchanged between Burlington teammates before playfully rolling to midfield to shake hands with Manitoba.

Burlington’s skill was unrivaled and undefeated throughout the week, scoring 29 goals in their five games while conceding only two, led by Petrina with nine and Johnson with six.

In the bronze medal game in Cornwall, Alberta’s Calgary NSD Saints broke through late, scoring twice in the final 10 minutes to give Alberta a 2:0 victory over Nova Scotia’s Halifax Dunbrack SC to claim third place.