A bounce here or there and the Thompson Okanagan FC under 15 girls soccer team could have won all their games in the Super Y-League North American Finals, presented by Umbro, in Tampa Bay.
The tourney is one of the top college recruiting events in the U.S. and the Pacific North West champion Okanagan entry, which had Vernon’s Emma Byskov, Kira Lee, Paige Ralston and Cassy Lukey, went 1-2-1.
“Even though we didn’t place as high as we had hoped, it was great to know we can compete at the highest level,” said Lee, who is playing on a high school exchange program in Mexico. “All our games were close and we could have won each game we played.”
The Okanagan reps opened play last Friday with a 2-0 loss to the MPS Knights of Boston. It was scoreless at the half with the Knights scoring their second goal while the Okanagan girls were pressing hard for the equalizer.
In Game 2 Saturday, Wisconsin’s Mequon United shut out the Okanagan 1-0, despite being outchanced 6-2 and outplayed for most of the game. United scored off a corner in the second half.
The Okanagan entry then tied eventual semifinalist Redding Rage of California 1-1 with a late goal on a free kick by Lee from 40 yards which deflected in. The Rage scored in the first five minutes off a penalty kick.
Ralston scored once as the Okanagan girls finished with a 7-0 smothering of the Virginia Alliance.
Said Byskov, an outside midfielder, who sprained her hand and missed one game: “I’m really proud of the way our team played. Although we didn’t win, we played some of our best games. We held our own and showed the Americans that Canadians know how to play.
“We were as mentally and physically prepared as possible, and I’m happy to say I have no regrets.”
Lukey was a rock in net and came through several huge collisions unscathed. She could not be faulted on any of the goals.
“Unfortunately we lost to two teams that we should have beat so that was pretty disappointing,” said Lukey. “But I think we were happy with the way we ended.”
Added Ralston: “We were unlucky but it was a good experience.”
The Seacoast United Wanderers of New England clipped the TSF Academy of New Jersey 4-3 in overtime to win the U15 title.