The Pictou Academy Pitbulls are heading into familiar territory this coming weekend: a chance to win a provincial title.
The Pitbulls, who won the Division 3 Nova Scotia championship a year ago, made it to provincials after winning a qualifier last Saturday on their home field, a 1-0 win over Cape Breton Highland Academy on an extra-time goal from Leigha MacDonald.
“It was off a corner kick,” she recalled. “I didn’t even look (at the net), I just kicked it.”
MacDonald has played soccer at PA since Grade 9. She was part of a team that finished runner-up at provincials in 2015 and in 2016, before PA finally broke through last season.
“Our school was under review, so we were playing for the school,” said MacDonald. “It was definitely the year for us to win it.”
For MacDonald, last Saturday was a busy one: she played goaltender for the Midget AA Subways Selects on Saturday morning at the Subway Cup, raced over to Pictou to score the winning goal for PA, then went back to the rink to tend nets that night. The Midget AA Selects would ultimately win a gold medal the next afternoon.
“I was really tired by the end of the day,” she said of her Saturday sports experience.
The girls of Pictou Academy will head to Lockeport, Shelburne County, on Friday with a chance to add another banner for their school.
“Hopefully we’ll have fun, but it would be really nice if we won again.”
ROLLING WITH SEVEN
This is the seventh year in a row the Pitbull girls have played at the Nova Scotia Division 3 championships, but for Peyton Briand, it will be a first: until this, her senior year of high school, she hadn't even played soccer since Grade 6, although she does play basketball and also takes part in track and field and cross-country.
“They needed players this year and I thought I’d help out,” says Briand, whose younger sister Myla also is part of the PA soccer squad.
The transition to a new sport, she added, “hasn’t been as had as I thought it would be.”
The Pitbulls will play East Antigonish on Friday, with the winner of that game advancing to Saturday’s championship match, where they would play either Lockeport or Oxford.
“We try not to jinx ourselves, we’re just trying to think positive,” Briand said.
PICTOU ACADEMY PITBULLS ROSTER
Ji In Yoo