Shuswap Merlot lifted a glass of red to celebrate a 3-2 North Okanagan Women’s Masters Soccer League win over Vernon’s Pleasant Valley Dental Clinic Controllers at Salmon Arm’s Blackburn Park.
Merlot opened the scoring midway through the first half. Despite some lovely quick passes and through balls placed by midfielders Angela Durfeld and Jacquie Nuyens, and great breakaways by speedster Jen Sorochuk, the Controllers couldn’t slot one past the Merlot keeper during the first half and the score remained 1-0 at the break.
Shortly after kickoff in the second half, outside mid Elena Sookarow carried the ball up the right side and managed to plow through three defensive attacks to bring the ball into the six-yard box before she was tripped and awarded a penalty kick. Marnie Brandle took the kick for Pleasant Valley Dental to score their first goal in the top left corner of the net.
About five minutes after the PK, Merlot scored their second goal on hard shot from outside the 18.
Midway through the second half , PVDC defender Jodi Peshko managed to create a turnover in Shuswap offence, carry the ball up to the half and create the quick passing offence needed to eventually feed the ball to striker Amy Shupe, who carried the ball across the front of the six-yard box and waited for her shot which she scored low inside the left post and tied the game 2-2.
Pleasant Valley Dental’s defensive line of Martina Allen, Christyna Whieldon, and Karen Zupp was relentless and managed to keep the Merlot attackers to the outside for most of the game. Keeper Michele Wernicke was sensational all night with some spectacular saves and was named the player with heart for Pleasant Valley Dental.
With about five minutes left in the match, Merlot scored their game winner from the top of the 18 that a screened Wernicke couldn’t quite see in time and just missed stopping. Despite the continued effort by Pleasant Valley Dental, not having any subs compared to the five sets of fresh legs Merlot had, the Controllers couldn’t manage to generate enough offence to tie the game.
K. Kirk was named player with heart for Merlot.