The North Island Junior Secondary Schools Championships have two brand new winners in Aquinas College (Tauranga) and Kristin School (North Shore). Previous winners Westlake Boys High School (North Shore) and Diocesan School for Girls (Auckland) had to settle for second, whilst defending champs Sacred Heart College (Auckland) and Westlake Girls High School (North Shore) claimed bronze.
The winners were found at Diocesan on Sunday evening after four days of tense competition across six Auckland venues.
Division Two – Boys
Sacred Heart B took the lead off of Green Bay High School (Auckland) in the second quarter of the division two boys’ final. The young Sacred side’s strength was movement and goals kept on coming, with a notable mention to Matt Sutton who scored four goals in the match including three in the last quarter.
John Paul College (Rotorua) were 0-2 down after the first quarter for bronze against Mount Maunganui College (Tauranga), but kicked into gear and only conceded another goal for a final score of 9-3.
Most Valuable Player: Matthew Sutton - Sacred Heart College B
Division Two – Girls
It was a close affair in the division two girls’ final between Aquinas College and Diocesan Blue. The 8-6 result came down to crucial moments, including an Anna Low goalkeeper shot that made the buffer three for Aquinas at halftime. Bridget Simpson managed three goals for Aquinas.
St. Kentigern made light work of Epsom Girls’ Grammar School to take division two bronze 7-3.
Most Valuable Player: Bridget Simpson - Aquinas College
Division One – Boys
FINAL: Aquinas College 11 v 9 Westlake Boys High School
Goals by quarter: 4:0, 1:1, 4:2, 2:6
Aquinas: Noah van Oudenaaren (3), Kiahi Horan (3), Loui Schuler (3), Marshall Barker (1), Noah Orchard (1).
Westlake: Korban Kirk (4), Blake Pavlovich (4), Alfie Daly (1).
Aquinas were finals ready and had the mental edge after an earlier win over Westlake in pool play. The Tauranga side went up 4-0 after the first quarter to create a huge wall for Westlake to climb if they wanted a shot at a comeback.
An even second quarter saw the scores at 5-1, but the third blew the gap out to six with goals from Noah van Oudenaaren, Marshall Barker, and Loui Schuler.
Kiahi Horan made the gap seven with just 3:39 left to play in the final, but then Westlake caught fire and threatened a last minute comeback. Westlake pieced together five goals in one minute and thirty-eight seconds, but it was too late. Aquinas had done the damage and claimed the North Island Junior Secondary Schools Championships for the first time ever.
Hamilton Boys’ High School had the start over back-to-back champions Sacred Heart in the bronze final, but the Aucklanders turned it around to win 10-6 by the final whistle where Corey Kellow had contributed four goals.
Tournament Team: Kiahi Horan (MVP - Aquinas College), Korban Kirk, Blake Pavlovich (Westlake Boys High School), Oliver Houghton (Hamilton Boys' High School), Corey Kellow (Sacred Heart A), Loui Schuler (Aquinas College).
Division One – Girls
FINAL: Diocesan White v Kristin School
Goals by quarter: 0:1, 0:0, 1:1, 0:1
Diocesan: Matilda Foley (1)
Kristin: Claudia Morgan (1), Lucia Doak (1), Clodagh Weir (1)
A last second shot from range was the first goal of the match, coming at the end of the first quarter from Kristin’s Lucia Doak.
Diocesan goalkeeper Charlie Hooke denied Kristin from going two up when she saved a penalty in the second quarter, whilst Kristin’s goalkeeper Alice Steele had kept a clean sheet for the first half.
Clodagh Weir converted for Kristin to head up by two late in the third quarter, but Matilda Foley responded for Diocesan for 1-2 leading into the last.
The two sides gave their all in the final quarter and it was anyone’s game. Claudia Morgan pulled through for Kristin for a two-goal buffer with a minute left on the clock, and they were given a chance to close the game out with a penalty but were denied again by Hooke. Kristin had the edge and had done enough by the final whistle to be crowned North Island Junior Secondary Schools winners for the first time in the school’s history.
After a tight first half, Westlake Girls High School broke away from North Shore neighbours Carmel College in the third quarter of the bronze medal match. A late comeback looked possible, but Rachel Dean netted two in the final quarter to take Westlake home 10-8 for bronze.
Tournament Team: Clodagh Weir (MVP - Kristin School), Maddy Gault, Eleanor Spillane (Diocesan), Maxine Stoute (Carmel College), Morgan McDowall (Westlake Girls High School), Alice Steele (Kristin School).