Jessica Grages from Vernon United beats Kelowna United’s Catherine Howe to the ball in Thompson Okanagan Youth Soccer League U16 girls rep action Sunday at MacDonald Park. (lisa mazurek/morning star)

Strong second half lifts United on road

REP SOCCER: Mixed results for TOYSL squads

Second-half goals from Skylee Sigurdson-Poirier and Brooklyn Kineshanko propelled the Vernon Coldstream Lumber United U13 Girls to a 2-0 win over host Shuswap United in Thompson Okanagan Youth Soccer League play Sunday in Salmon Arm.

The Vernon United Coldstream Lumber U13 Girls came on with a vengeance in the first minutes of the game with Sigurdson-Poirier, Kaitlyn Budgen and Paige Maleska all getting shots away. Mia Hyer, Georgia Wenger, Madison Bergman and Brooklyn Kineshanko kept the pressure on, but the Shuswap keeper kept shutting them down.

Early in the second half, Emma Glasser and Mia Maltman had a beautiful give and go to feed the ball up to Jessi Cleverley in the right corner for a beautiful cross which gave Sigurdson-Poirer the opportunity to sink the ball into the back of the net. The Shuswap team put up a solid defence in the remainder of the half, but Kineshanko wouldn’t let up on the Shuswap goalie and was finally able to fire one in with some assistance from Katrina Winstanley and Glasser.

The Vernon defence was able to hold off the Shuswap girls to hold onto the 2-0 win for United.

TOLKO UNITED U18

The Vernon girls had a busy weekend of soccer, with a game in Penticton on Saturday, and a home game against Kamloops on Sunday.

Penticton Pinnacles, who are currently at the top of the league, struggled to crack Vernon’s defensive line until well into the first half, when a lone striker broke away for a one on one with Vernon’s keeper, Danica Ariano, who’d already made some acrobatic saves, came off her line to challenge, but the Pinnacles forward cleverly slid it by for the first goal of the game. Vernon countered with some well executed attacks, with Ali Holman, Jayden Strachen, Danika Roy and Nadia Smith sharing the runs down the flanks, and Jairaj Siddu, play-up Bridgette Peterson and Keira Correia staying central to get on top of the crosses.

With continued pressure Vernon finally equalized 35 minutes into the game on a great strike by Correia. Solid tackles by defenders Kelsey Carriere, Reagan Shattock, Emilia Durfeld and Carly Southam saw Vernon shut down several Pinnacle attacks in the second half, but a lofting ball from outside of the box sailed just over the finger tips of Vernon’s keeper to drop into the net.

In the last 10 minutes United had several solid chances but wasn’t able to find the inside of the post. The game finished 2-1 for the Pinnacles, but the younger Vernon team was praised by the coaching staff for their great showing.

Sunday’s game was another tough one as United faced the top scoring team in the league. Great control in the middle of the field by Mason Christensen, Kalli Hamilton-Gee, Maja Splawinski, Ariano, and call-up Ava McLennan kept United in the mix, but the skillful footwork and relentless pressure from Kamloops broke the Vernon defence down, allowing Kamloops to finish twice in the first half.

Vernon came out for the second half more composed, and were able to string together several attacks with great shots by Roy, Splawinski, and Brianna Bobbit. In the end, Kamloops proved to be the stronger team, finishing with three more for a 5-0 win.

U12 TOLKO UNITED

The Vernon girls, under coach Colin Clarke, lost their first game on Sunday against Shuswap. Playing with only eight girls and no subs, they battled to a 4-1 loss with Paige Cover scoring the only goal of the game.

Makenna Doyle and Ashley Befus were warriors in net and Jordyn Clarke made some excellent plays at striker.

Game 2 against Kelowna was another 3-0 loss with some fantastic defensive plays by Tori Maltman, Macy Blades and Ashlee Befus. Kirsten Brown and Sadie Christensen ran their guts out on the wings.

U12 STRIKERS

The Tolko Strikers collected a couple of losses this weekend against Kelowna teams on Sunday in Kamloops.

In their first match of the day they not only lost their game, 2-0 to Kelowna United Fury, they also lost their only sub when Chelsea Sladen fell awkwardly and sprained her shoulder after a tackle and was done for the day.

“It was a blow to the team as Chelsea has been contributing greatly in the midfield this season,” said Striker coach Rolf Hirschkorn.

The Strikers had their chances but they just couldn’t convert. Hirschkorn noted Cassidy Bocking and Clara Meyer for their strong play in mid as well as Jesse Mitchell as the centre defender.

In their second match of the day, the Strikers were down 1-0 in the first minute of the game to Kelowna United Lightning. However, Vernon equalized six minutes later when Adelynn Heyes converted a Jessica Bond cross from about five yards out.

Three minutes later the Tolko Strikers too the lead after Anna Hirschkorn scored on a free kick going bar down. Unfortunately Kelowna equalized with four mintues left in the half to make it 2-2.

Kelowna took the lead seven minutes into the second half, before Adelynn Heyes ran onto a Bond long ball. Heyes beat the Kelowna defender down the right side and then the goalie with a howitzer to the short side to make it 3-3. Then in the 52nd minute Kelowna took the lead and Hirschkorn looked to tie the game with seconds left on a free kick, but was denied by the crossbar.

“Overall I would say it was their best game of the season,” said co-coach Brent Bond. “Without any subs they were forced to use their soccer intelligence and move the ball with short passes and support each other.”

Bond noted Naomi King for her strong play on defence and Veronika Ociepa for her contributions in the midfield.

U11 UNITED DEVELOPMENT TEAM Z

Team Z girls had a strong showing in Kamloops vs Kelowna.

Aimee Glasser was stellar in net with Kate Lavery and Rylee Mairs holding the line for her on defence. Ava Cesario made several great plays up front. Sophie Winstanley, in midfield, fed a beautiful ball to Holly Magnus who had a bullet of a shot but unfortunately hit the post.

In the second half of the game Vernon was pressed hard by the aggressive Kelowna club who went up 4-0 despite a fantastic showing by Samantha Vajda in net. Vernon had several good runs up the field but couldn’t break the Kelowna D line and finished the game with a 4-0 loss.

The Vernon girls came back hungry for a win in Game 2, knowing they had to pick up their physicality against a second Kelowna team.

With Rylee Mairs and Marrah Wilford-Kaleikini sharing netminding duties, the Vernon girls battled hard and played their hearts out.

Sophie Challen was strong all over the field, scoring Vernon’s first goal from inside the 18 yard box. Anissa Gutknecht was a whirlwind of energy, making runs up from the D line to forward. Lauren Cunningham had a beautiful shot but was robbed by the Kelowna goalie. Holly Magnus had a great cross to Ava Cesario who scored Vernon’s second goal with a nice tap into the bottom left corner. Jennie Pereboom’s long legs carried her all over the field with some fantastic runs with the ball. Julia McLennan on forward had several great moves around the Kelowna defence but was denied by the Kelowna keeper. Teagan Schober was a trooper, playing any position she was asked and taking possession away from Kelowna. They ended the game with a 2-2 tie.

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