Morning Star Staff
Vernon Tolko United open the Thompson-Okanagan Under 13 Rep Boys Soccer League playoffs Thursday night against the Kamloops Blaze.
The remainder of the Okanagan playdowns go Friday through Sunday at Kings Park in Penticton. The Blaze are the No. 4 seed.
United flexed their offence for the post-season by swamping Shuswap Selects 7-0 to close the regular season Sunday in Salmon Arm.
Vernon struck twice in the opening 10 minutes with Justin Russell and Mike Hoyland burying rebounds.
Chris Reinhardt converted at 30 minutes from just outside the 18 and then Austin Armanini executed a beautiful chip over the keeper in the 34th minute to make it 4-0 at the recess.
Vernon kept pressing in the final 30 minutes with Ethan Greenan using his speed on a breakaway, Tanner Lapp chipping the keeper and Ronac Chauhan connecting after some great passing by the entire squad.
Gage Stoll recorded some huge saves for the shutout, getting bold support from Zack Hanley and Owen Davis.
“I give the boys a lot of credit as solid passing made many of the goals possible with good ball movement and a solid performance by the defensive unit also added to their success,” said Vernon coach Rick Ogasawara
United U14 boys finished fourth after falling 2-0 to Kelowna United’s top team Sunday afternoon at Marshall Field.
Both teams played a hard opening half with Kelowna opening the scoring midway through the first half. Kelowna pressed and added insurance in the second half.
Hayden Catt, Saajan Klair, Ben Imrich, Tage Kineshanko and Brad Cramer enjoyed strong games for United.
In U15 play, Vernon lost 5-1 to Kamloops in a tilt that was 1-0 Blaze at the break.
United keeper Jared Jameson was involved in a goal-saving collision with a Kamloops player forward and left the game late in the first half, giving the gloves to Ian Oliphant.
Shea Soloway scored off a keeper’s bobble with his readiness and follow-through paying off.
Shaun Boucher and Oliver Meyer were stellar on the United defence. Meyer had a shot on goal that was just a bit too high.
“Again, I thought the boys delivered a great effort and continue to work together well as a team and it was a tough one for injuries,” said Vernon head coach Robin Baycroft.
Straight shooter for U12s
United U12 S Boys bounced the Revelstoke Avalanche 7-2 and iced the Shuswap C Selects 8-1 Sunday in Kamloops.
Ben Straight got Vernon on the sheet first with a quick shot over the keeper. Straight then sent a corner to Nick Noren for the 2-0 tally.
Devin Bilodeau converted an Alex Kazimer cross before Revelstoke rallied but were shot down by Roan Reid and Bilodeau, who drilled a free kick deep into the corner.
Noren also capitalized on a free kick and Justin Ruscheinsky got a foot on the ball in the scrum in front of the net to add himself to the scoring list. Danny McLennan connected for the seventh snipe.
The second game against Shuswap C was another great display of offence and a possession with Ruschiensky and Levi Koroll sharing keeper duties.
Bilodeau started the scoring on a great pass by Straight. Alexander Jones and Fraser Christensen connected passes to create numerous chances for Vernon. McLennan got his second of the day on a great pass from Straight.
McLennan returned the favour supporting Straight on his drive to the net notching his second of the day. Kazimer sent a solid cross to Noren for a solid finish, while Carter Leahy scored on a penalty kick before Shuswap stole the shutout. Bilodeau, Straight and Koroll added additional goals.
United registers split
United Team C lost 4-2 to Kelowna A before brushing back Kelowna N in their doubleheader.
Braden Schmeigelt and Aidan Winn shared keeper duties for the day, making some brilliant stops on the marauding Kelowna players.
Kelowna A scored first with Daxton Podollan levelling the score by converting a laser pass from Declan Hardy.
Marcus Pedersen and Jonah Violini formed a wall on the back line, supported by Liam Collins.
Driving to the net, Owen Challen and Parker Munroe kept forward pressure but Kelowna pulled ahead late. Tate Garrod connected on a corner.
Game two against Kelowna N was a tough, physical game but Vernon held them scoreless at the half.
Supported by Cameron Acob, Zach Loland sent a great pass to Anderson, who took the ball through the Kelowna forwards and capitalized on a goalie misstep to score into an empty net. Kelowna rallied but Marcus Erho finished a rebound on a shot from Loland for the final goal of the 3-1 win.
Tough losses for U11s
United U11 Boys Venom bowed 6-3 to Kelowna R and lost 3-1 to Kelowna N Sunday in Salmon Arm.
Mac Sorochuk manned the net and recorded several spectacular saves in the first game.
Braxton McDonald got Vernon on the board, assisted by Mitchell Bond.
Other goals for Venom came from Josh Donison, on a fabulous solo effort, and one from Hayden Murphey, assisted by Bond and Jentezen Peterson. Luca Ariano and Rowan Smith enjoyed gritty showings.
In Game 2, Peterson netted the Venom goal from a direct free kick. McDonald played a phenomenal game as keeper and Josh Mark displayed a solid effort in mid field.
With Ariano injured in the final half, Kaden O’Connor was quick to step in with some aggressive defence along with Logan Stewart, Henry Routley, and Mathew Hill-Turner.
The Provincial B Cup qualifying games open Friday night at Kings Park in Penticton with the finals scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
The U13 boys final is at 1 p.m., while the U14 boys gold-medal tilt is set for 3 p.m. and the Under 15 boys final at 5 p.m.
The U18 boys final is Sunday at 3 p.m., while the U13, U15 and U18 girls gold-medal matches goes at 11 a.m., followed by the U14s and U16s finals at 1 p.m.