United U14s strike silver
Vernon United lost 3-2 in penalty kicks to Port Coquitlam in Easter Sunday’s Under 14 boys gold-medal final in the Lake Country Ice Breaker Rep Soccer Tournament.
Jarrod Latta showed Vernon meant business with a penalty-shot snipe early, but PoCo responded with two goals by the end of the first half.
Vernon came out of the break fired up, and with three minutes left to play, Latta delivered the equalizer, assisted by Perez Vermeulen.
MVP was Xander Sladen for his fast moves and relentless effort.
Said United head coach Remco Winjorst: “It was a silver medal with a gold lining. The entire team deserved MVP honours for their efforts in this match.”
Latta scored both goals and earned game MVP as United opened Good Friday with a 2-0 victory over Calgary Foothhills on an icy morning in Rutland.
United fell 3-1 to PoCo Saturday with Latta converting after Po-Co went up 2-0 in the first half.
Vernon pressed hard in the second half with Ben Purvis’ attempt on goal via a penalty kick bouncing off the top rail. Defender Trent Graham kept digging deep to chase down the PoCo forwards but Poco added one more insurance tally.
Bryce Turner was voted MVP for driving down the wing and being tenacious.
In Sunday morning semifinal action, Vernon shaded Calgary Foothills 4-3 in penalty kicks with United keeper Ian Oliphant brilliant for MVP.
Vernon struck early when Blake Leupin headed in a feed from Turner. Calgary levelled the score midway through the half. Latta put Vernon up before the break.
Vermeulen made it 3-1 Vernon early in the final half, but Calgary drove hard and equalized in the dying minutes.
United hosts Kamloops Blaze in league play Sunday, noon, at Marshall Field #4.
Vernon lost 7-1 to the Vancouver Fusion in the Ice Breaker U13 boys bronze-medal final Sunday.
An early breakaway by Lee Christensen and Noah Podolski almost resulted in a goal for United. Vancouver found a few gaps but they were closed down with great defence and goalkeeping the first 10 minutes before connecting.
Cole Johnson unleashed an excellent cross in the 11th minute to tie it for Vernon.
Lots of pressure by Vancouver resulted in a second goal at 17 minutes.
Tourney MVP Joseph Neufeld, game MVP Shaun Boucher and Oliver Meyer, along with midfielders Ty Ogasawara and Chris McIntosh, excelled in defending, keeping the score 2-1 at the half.
Vernon started the tourney by falling 4-1 to the Fusion. Cole Johnson gave United the early lead and Podolski turned in a strong first half tending goal.
Man of the Match Jared Jameson took over in goal for the second half but Vancouver pressed hard with four goals.
In Game 2, Vernon shut down West Kelowna 4-0 with Jameson recording the shutout and Bryce Thachuk MVP.
Johnson, Christensen and Podolski provided first-half goals. while Zack Laranjo netted the fourth, off a beautiful pass by McIntosh.
The back line of Boucher, Meyer, Ty Ogasawara and Neufeld worked the field with authority.
Prince George clipped Vernon 1-0 to knock United out of the gold-medal match.
Great defence from Vernon after lots of pressure from Prince George in the first 15 minutes kept it scoreless after one half.
Excellent goalkeeping came from Podolski after Prince George kept on pushing up on the flanks. Ogasawara covered well at left wing, while Oliver Meyer and Boucher anchored the back wall.
Johnson used some fancy footwork to reach Laranjo for a quality scoring chance in the opening half, while Johnson just missed on a free kick in the final half.
United attacked with numbers as game MVP Christensen spearheaded most of the plays, one ball deflecting by the Prince George keeper a few inches into the net with play continuing and the goal disallowed. Prince George broke away to score 30 seconds before the final whistle.
Vernon United U15 boys pocketed the bronze medal by brushing back Prince George Timberwolves 3-1 with Malcolm Weins (2) and Owen Burnet (PK) handling the offence and Sam Eggert taking MVP.
Elias Jensen played well despite nagging injuries while Kevin Thibault did a great job of distributing the ball from the back.
“The team is looking very good and are moving the ball well,” said United coach Erick Burnet.
Vernon opened by defeating Prince George by the same 3-1 count, with Weins (2) and Burnet (PK) again doing the scoring. Burnet buried his penalty shot in the last few minutes for the winner.
United keeper Harvey Pawsey was selected game MVP, while Josh Gray and Wyatt Carter had strong games at the back.
Vernon then bounced the Kamloops Blaze 3-1 with Weins and the Blaze swapping early goals.
With about 15 minutes left in the game, Mees Geelkerken (MVP) broke the deadlock by tucking the ball just inside the left post from about 18 yards. Weins added insurance.
Charis Ondrik and Gavin Mason had great games as holding mids, while Shey Towney and James Huntington had spectacular games on the wings.
On Saturday afternoon, United bowed 1-0 to Kelowna at UBCO so ended up third in their pool.
“Last year Kelowna beat us handily everytime, so it was great to see the boys keep it so close and have chances to take the lead initially and then later tie the match”, said United coach Rolf Hirschkorn.
The game highlight came in the final minutes as a Kelowna striker countered deep in the Vernon zone. Central defender Peter Hirschkorn came streaking across the field to take the ball and the man cleanly just inside the 18. Geelkerken was again selected as Man of the Match.
In U13 girls action, Vernon toppled Kamloops 4-1 for the bronze medal.
Paige Noakes opened the scoring with a rocket, on a cross from Megan Sherwood. United’s second goal came from Emily Thomas, on a feed from Mira Szudek through the middle.
Kamloops pressed but the defensive play of Gabrielle Triggs, Kelsey Carriere, Makenna Kersey and Carly Southam held them scoreless through the first half.
In the second half, a great feed from midfield sent Sydney Bergman on a run upfield. Bergman found Szudek, who made it 3-0. Kamloops answered on a breakaway before Brianna Bobbitt converted from Elana Gaskell in the late minutes.
United shut down the Prince George Kodiaks 3-1 to open preliminary action. Szudek, Thomas, on a gorgeous corner, and Danica Ariano, on a penalty kick, handled the offence. Game MVP was Carriere,
In Game 2, Vernon ambushed Kamloops 5-0 with Hailey Yablonski recording the shutout.
Game MVP Bobbitt scored first, from Szudek, who then drilled a shot bottom left, on a feed from Keira Correia. Szudek scored again, from Bobbitt, after a great cross from Jayden Strachan midway through the first half.
Talia Quiring, Carriere, Kersey and Triggs worked the back of the field to keep Kamloops stuck in the midfield. United’s fourth goal came from Ariano, assisted by Bobbitt.
Gaskell and Emilia Durfeld maintained possession in central mid. Thomas then one-timed one off a corner. United bowed to Vancouver Fusion FC Intake 2-0 with game MVP Yablonski making several big stops.