Vying for a provincial title at home

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Chantal Bourassa of the Carlton Crusaders chases after the ball during a game against the Meadow Lake Carpenter Spartans earlier this season.

For the Carlton Crusaders and St. Mary Marauders girls’ soccer teams, there is no better place to compete for a provincial title than in the familiar surroundings of Prime Minister’s Park.

Both schools will be competing in the SHSAA’s 3A championship Friday, as the Crusaders will take on the Regina O’Neill Titans at 9 a.m. and the Marauders will square off with the Regina Campbell Tartans at 11 a.m. in quarter-final matchups.

“It’s always nice when you have that home crowd cheering as it gets the girls excited for what’s always a fun tournament,” Crusaders head coach Alicia Georgeson said.

“We have a bit of a younger team compared to previous years, so I think it’s going to be a new experience for some of the girls as it’s not often that you get to play in front of family and friends,” Marauders head coach Jamie Zurakowski added.

While the Crusaders qualified for the provincials by being the event hosts, the Marauders punched their ticket into the eight-team field with a 4-0 win over the Holy Rosary Raiders at a regional tournament in Lloydminster last Friday.

“We didn’t have a full squad with us for the tournament in Carlton a weekend earlier, so to have everyone in Lloydminster and put in the effort that we had to clinch a spot in the provincials was fantastic,” Zurakowski said.

The Crusaders, who had a bye to the final, would win the tournament over the Marauders by a score of 3-2.

“Everything’s clicked for the girls lately and it’s shown in our recent results,” Georgeson said.

“It took a few weeks to really bond together as a team, but the progress we’ve made in the last few games has been impressive to watch.”

Friday’s meeting with the Titans will be the first of the season for the Crusaders, while the Marauders dropped a 2-0 decision to the Tartans at a tournament in Yorkton earlier this year.

“It’s always interesting when you get to the tournament as you don’t see many of the teams as the season goes along,” Zurakowski said. “It’s not like football where you get tapes from everyone along the way.”

“The level of play is always competitive at the provincials and I think the fans will see some high quality matchups this weekend,” Georgeson added.

Also competing in the tournament are the Swift Current Ardens, Weyburn Eagles, the Saskatoon St. Joseph Guardians and the Saskatoon Centennial Chargers.

The event, which will have a small entry fee for spectators, will conclude Saturday with the gold medal game at 2 p.m.

Crusaders boys’ team competing in Saskatoon

Meanwhile, the Carlton Crusaders boys’ program will battle it out in Saskatoon for the 3A provincial crown, as they’ll take on the Regina Campbell Tartans in a quarter-final game Friday morning.

Also in the field for that event are the Saskatoon Centennial Chargers, Yorkton Raiders, Swift Current Colts, Saskatoon Aden Bowman Bears, Regina Miller Marauders and Warman Wolverines

The St. Mary Marauders missed out on a spot in the tournament after a 4-0 to the Wolverines in a regional semifinal last week.

The Crusaders won that event in a 5-4 thriller with the Wolverines.