The Handsworth Royals finished in third place after finding themselves in three straight shootouts at the senior boys AAA provincial soccer championships held Thursday through Saturday in Burnaby.
The Royals scored two wins and one tie in opening round play, tying with South Delta for top spot in their pool. The deadlock was solved with a shootout, with Handsworth coming out on top to make it to the final four.
In the semifinals Handsworth faced Surrey’s L.A. Matheson Mustangs in a tight contest that ended in a 0-0 tie, forcing a second straight shootout for the Royals. Handsworth’s shootout luck didn’t last, however, as the Mustangs booked a spot in the final with a 4-2 shootout win.
The bronze medal game followed a similar script, with Handsworth and Vancouver College battling to a 0-0 tie, forcing the Royals into their third straight shootout. Handsworth regained its form, scoring a 4-2 win in the shootout to claim a spot on the podium.
“[It was] a great season overall,” said Handsworth head coach Cosmo Valente. “Gold would of been sweet, but bronze is pretty good as well.”
You can’t find much fault in Handsworth’s showing at the provincial championships. The Royals only gave up one goal throughout the tournament, and they were undefeated except for their semifinal shootout loss.
Handsworth finished first in the North Shore AAA league this season and went on to win the North Shore banner with a 5-1 win over St. Thomas Aquinas. The Royals then won the new Sea to Sky zone championship banner with a 3-1 victory over Vancouver College to book their spot at provincials. The Royals were led by Grade 12 seniors Jamie Gunter, Idean Ashrafi, Sascha Sweatman, Kallum Fraser, Sam Locher, Jack Goodenough, Lucas Booth and Sam Marburg.
The Argyle Pipers also made it to the provincial championships, finishing 16th. Handsworth’s Gunter, the team's goalkeeper, and Argyle’s Colby Moore were named to the Commissioner’s 11 all-star team at provincials.