Hard work does pay off.

That rings true for the Vanier Spirits after the team captured the SHSAA 2A girls soccer regional title over the weekend.

“It's really nice for them to see how much their hard work pays off,” said Spirits head coach Jason Jones. “For this group of players, it's their first time going to a provincial event and they're pretty excited about doing that.”

Vanier won 1-0 over Central in the regional semifinal on Saturday to clinch a spot in provincials and then they claimed the regional title with a 2-1 win in penalty kicks over Weyburn in the final.

“They played really, really well,” said Jones. “The semifinal, obviously, was a huge game just because you and you move on and if you lose, your season is done. We had a specific game plan in mind and we were able to stick to that game plan.”

Olivia Moyse scored off the post in the 24th minute for the lone goal in the win over Central. Their defence shut the door from there.

“That was a good goal, good match-up,” said Jones. “I thought defensively, we were very well organized and we cut off a lot of passes, so I can't say enough about our back line and goalkeeper.”

Vanier scored early again in the final as Alexis Jones hit a streaking Moyse who found the back of the net to make it 1-0 after the first half. Weyburn tied the game late in the second half, but the Spirits were able to prevail in penalty kicks.

Jones was impressed with how the team responded after winning the semifinal just a few hours before the final.

“Full credit to Weyburn, they played very, very well, moved the ball very well and we needed to defend well and we did that,” Jones said. “Going into overtime, the legs were gone, but we found a way to will it home in the end and go to PKs and win it there.”

Weyburn and Central both finished ahead of Vanier in the Moose Jaw league regular season, but the Spirits have been building throughout the season and were able to continue that growth at regionals.

“When we looked at Weyburn and Central at the beginning of the year, we were talking about one goal, there seemed to be a one goal difference in all the games and we weren't able to get over that hill,” said Jones. “It's all coming together now, we're putting all the pieces together and it's a great opportunity for these girls to get to the regional final.”

In the quarterfinals at regionals, Peacock beat Caronport 8-0 to advance before falling 4-0 to Weyburn.

Vanier and Weyburn head to Meadow Lake this coming weekend for the 2A provincials. The Spirits will face Balgonie Greenall in their first match on Friday, while Weyburn takes on Notre Dame.

The Central Cyclone boys are headed to provincials after knocking off Vanier 1-0 in the third place game at the 2A boys regional tournament on the weekend. Central will be in Regina for provincials, they face Regina Sheldon Williams on Friday in their opener.

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