Louis-Riel, rebelles of the ball

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

Kelsie English had a dream Friday night -- that Louis-Riel won the OFSAA AAA girls' championship 3-0.

"I called the score and I told an assistant coach (Imad Ghandoura)," said English, the goalkeeper who -- you guessed it -- led the Rebelles to a 3-0 win over Oshawa's R.S. McLaughlin Collegiate Vocational Institute Trojans at the Hornets' Nest yesterday.

It's one thing to dream it.

It's another to make it happen.

English and the Rebelles did it, a remarkable story after being less than a minute from being eliminated by their archrivals, the Colonel By Cougars, in the quarter-final Friday. They pulled that one out on penalty kicks and rolled over the Chatham-Kent Golden Hawks 2-0 yesterday morning in the semi-final to set up their shot at glory on a pristine afternoon.

CANTAVE NETS 2

McLaughlin advanced to the gold-medal game with a 1-0 win over Burlington's Nelson High School.

Backed by English's shutout goaltending and a pair of goals by Haisha Cantave, the Rebelles fulfilled English's dream and their motto -- "This is it" -- hefting the trophy with gold medals around their necks.

The victory capped an incredible, exhausting, exhilarating 20-odd hours.

After needing penalty kicks against the Cougars to advance, they were back on the pitch at 9 a.m. yesterday for the semi-final against Chatham-Kent. After that, it was on to the final, the last of three gruelling, pressure-packed games in less than 24 hours.

The Rebelles got a good night's sleep after sitting up until 11 p.m. Friday watching a replay of their win over Colonel By on Rogers.

Well, most of the Rebelles got a good night's sleep.

Cantave had a restless night. She was forced to leave the Colonel By game at times because of leg cramps and was uncomfortable for much of Friday night. She overslept yesterday morning and was late for the semi-final.

"I was passed out, but I started getting cramps (during the night)," she said.

She showed up when they needed her, though.

The Rebelles jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead against McLaughlin, with Melissa Guenet scoring on a long, arching free kick and Cantave -- recovered from her difficulties -- adding a second off a sprint up the middle before the game was 10 minutes old.

Cantave made it 3-0 just before halftime when she headed home a corner.

The Trojans had a chance to get back in the game early in the second half when Hollie Babut found herself alone with the ball near the top of the crease, but shot wide left as English cut off the angle.

"We trained for this game and it worked out for us," said English, adding the Rebelles benefited from sleeping in their own beds Friday night.

"We were fit while it looked like they were lacking energy ... and the home crowd was amazing. It was great to have our friends watching."

DID THEIR HOMEWORK, TOO

Rebelles coach Joe Fournier liked the way his team came back from the emotional win over Colonel By with a controlled, efficient effort against Chatham-Kent in the semi.

"I was worried a bit about how they would react," he said about the transition from the draining game against the Cougars. "But they had a good night's sleep and a good breakfast and if everybody is honest, they did their homework. They kept getting better and combined the two styles (from the games against Colonel By and Chatham-Kent against McLaughlin).

"They were riding a wave," added Fournier. "Nothing was going to stop them."

Not even the absence of promising striker Laurianne Brisette-Lesage, who scored twice in a preliminary win Thursday, but left to fulfill a commitment to her Ottawa Fury club team this weekend.

You have to wonder what might stop the Rebelles next year, when they'll lose just two players to graduation.

In the bronze-medal game, Nelson beat Chatham-Kent 1-0 on penalty kicks.

CHRIS.STEVENSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos