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HCI ends season with win in league final

It's been a long, hard season, but one local soccer team managed to finish it on a high note last week.
The HCI girls' soccer team won the Horizon School Division Senior Girls' Soccer League, defeating the Three Lakes Avengers 4-1 in the final. Back row (from left): coach Janel Marshall, coach Bob Bellamy, Mackenzie Mueller, Brittany Witte, Caitlynn Graf, Niki Cheeseman, Kenzie Friesen, Sam Harty, coach Owen Witte. Middle:Jessica Theisen, Amy Doepker, Kaitlyn Grieman, Taylor Wittke, Natasha Witte, Taylor Friesen, Jill Ottmann, Kaytlin Hantke, Kim Lawrence. Front: Koralyn Lamping. Missing: Amanda Wuchner.

It's been a long, hard season, but one local soccer team managed to finish it on a high note last week.
The Humboldt Collegiate Institute (HCI) girls' soccer team hosted the Three Lakes Avengers in the final of the Horizon School Division senior girls' soccer league on November 2.
The game had been scheduled for October 26, but the snow storm that swept through the region that day forced the postponement.
HCI and the Avengers had finished first and second in the league with HCI only one win and two points ahead of their rivals.
Both teams had just finished their respective provincial tournaments - the Avengers won 1A gold, while HCI won the 2A consolation final - while playing their best soccer of the season.
Both teams came out strong in the league final, but HCI were the first to capitalize, scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes of the game. They scored one more later in the half to take a 3-0 lead into the final 45 minutes of play.
The Avengers brought everything they had to the second half, but couldn't get the ball past HCI keeper Koralyn Lamping.
Three Lakes finally got on the scoreboard thanks to a penalty kick. HCI was called for hauling down an attacking Avenger with the ball inside the 18-yard box. Avenger Julie Baker made the opportunity count, putting the ball in to the far left corner past a diving Lamping.
With the score at 3-1, the Avengers kept pressing, but it was HCI who got the next goal.

Cara Kielau, the Three Lakes keeper, was hard pressed during the game, but made several good saves to keep the game within reach.
HCI kept their 4-1 lead to the final buzzer, to win the league championship.
"It was an excellent game and an excellent way to end the season," said Bob Bellamy, HCI head coach. "We were on fire in the first 10 minutes and got two goals from that."
Bellamy also had words of praise for his defence, calling their play "solid."
"We had excellent communication on the field," he noted. "And we had some good shots and our give-and-goes were working."
The team was so pumped after Provincials, they really wanted to win the league, Bellamy said.
Avenger coach Trevor Otsig wasn't surprised by his team's slow start to the game.
"I was kind of expecting us to come out flat after the weekend winning gold," he said. "That was pretty emotional for the team, so it was kind of a downer to start that way. After half we came out a little more fired up and played better, but came up short."
Otsig thought his team didn't play as well as they could have in the game, but noted that HCI played a very good game.
Looking back at the season, Otsig had nothing but nice things to say about his team, praising their hard work and great sportsmanship.
"Overall I am very pleased and proud of the way our girls played throughout the season," he said. "Our team had great leadership and was a very close-knit group. We enjoyed our best season ever in league play, won the (provincial) gold medal for the first time ever, and only came up short of our last goal, which was winning the league, but second ain't that bad."