Morning Star Staff
Vernon United U17s battled the host Kelowna’s U18s to a scoreless draw in Thompson Okanagan Rep Soccer League girls season-opening action Sunday.
Both teams played very well defensively, limiting their opponents to relatively few scoring opportunities. Kelowna did manage to mount a strong offensive push in the second half with a dozen corner kicks and eight shots on net.
Vernon keeper Chelsea Weisgerber stood tall, controlling the back end with the help of central defenders, Danika Damini and Briana Thalheimer. Vernon’s two corners were placed nicely into the box by Paige Ralston, but the team was not able to convert the crosses and test Kelowna’s keeper.
Carli Tingstad’s crew got aggressive play in the middle from Ralston, Megan Prentice, Marisa Berg, and Tessa Coulthard. Forwards Emma Tassie and Dory Geelkerken starred.
U14 girls edged by Kelowna United
In U14 Rep girls play, Brett Bandy’s team bowed 2-1 to host Kelowna.
Vernon controlled the play for the first part of the half before Kelowna came on strong and scored when the Vernon keeper just missed on an attempt to grab the ball.
Kelowna made a great solo effort to get past three Vernon players and make it 2-1 before adding an insurance tally.
Reyhanna Akkurt corked a shot just wide for Vernon but United kept pressing until Cayleigh Graham scored after some sustained pressure.
Maya Bandy had a solid game for Vernon, making several smart plays.
Vernon U13 boys lose close one
Vernon United U13 boys started their year with a tough 2-1 loss to Kelowna.
Both teams played hard in the first half with Kelowna grabbing a 2-0 lead. Vernon came out strong in the second half with Kenzel Arts Roman scoring, with an assist from Connor London.
United U12s sweep in Kamloops
In U12 boys action, the Vernon United #1 rolled to a pair of wins at McArthur Island Sports Centre Sunday in Kamloops.
United, coached by Kevin Mitchell, opened the season by holding off Penticton #1 Pinnacles 3-1 behind some spectacular second-half goalkeeping by Micah Martens.
The Penticton keeper fumbled a cross by Finn Plummer in the early going and the ball went off Dexter Weiten to Perez Vermeulen, who finished from the goal-line.
Vermeulen one-timed a cross by Plummer for Vernon’s second goal, while Seb Wenger scored off a rebound of a Vermeulen shot, to the United offence.
Nick Mitchell was solid in net in the first half, making a few big saves and watching a handful of Penticton shots bang off the crossbar.
Midfielder/defender Joe Eggert ran miles and controlled the ball with authority for Man of the Match.
In Game 2, United scored some beauties as they ambushed Shuswap 8-1 with Owen Miller amd Drayden Dougan each scoring twice.
Weiten earned game MVP with some slick moves up front, one well-placed goal and one sweet feed to Miller for one of his tallies.
Drayden Dougan supplied the goal of the match when he lept up and one-timed a high cross by Brett Hansen. Dougan blasted in a corner by Miller for his second goal.
Miller picked off a goal kick, dribbled into the box and buried his second marker low, right side.
Eggert, off a corner by Alex Ogunbiyi, Martens, from Wenger and Plummer, also scored. Defender Kody Kongsdorf, with his first career Rep goal, on a gorgeous run and boot in the final seconds, rounded out the United attack.
United #2 suffer tough losses
Vernon United #2, coached by Roy Cooper, bowed 2-1 to Penticton #2 Pinnacles before falling 4-1 to the Kelowna United #2 in their opening games in Kamloops.
Penticton opened the scoring after a good run off a throw in, with keeper Dylan Huber stopping the first shot, but Penticton grabbing the rebound.
Vernon’s back line, anchored by a stellar game MVP Adam Raber, Aidan Rysen and Brendan Yakura. were very busy all game.
It was a close battle in the second half and Vernon hit the crossbar before finally equalizing on a play from Rysen, to Cooper, to Chris Atkins and back to Cooper, for the header goal.
Penticton netted the winner on a nifty play in the dying minutes.
There was good back and forth action in United’s second game with Kelowna converting in the 25th minute on a rapid-fire play. Huber was sharp as Kelowna outshot Vernon in the first half.
Kelowna went up 2-0 in the second before Vernon responded with a long kick from Ben Purvis, to Mika Burns, to Cooper, who sent in game MVP Yakura, who found the far bottom corner of the net.
Huber again recorded some great saves as Kelowna scored twice and pressed hard against United’s fast and gritty fullbacks Declan Stevenson, Raber, Yakura and Rysen.
U11 boys split season openers
United U11 #1 boys split their opening games in Penticton, stopping the Kamloops Blaze 3-0 before falling 2-1 to Kelowna.
Strong offensive performances were turned in by Noah Podolski, Isaiah Ondrik and Ian Oliphant, while Ty Ogasawara and Saajan Klair did a great job of passing up and were instrumental in Vernon’s offence. Goalies Noah Podolski and Tane Purcell were awesome in sharing the shutout.
Game 2 saw Kelowna register a late goal for the victory. Hunter Housego enjoyed a strong two-way showing, while Cole Johnson had some good scoring chances.
Defensively, Purcell, Gerritt Van Soest and Tanner Wiebe were solid all day.
The United U11 #2 also split a pair of matches, starting the day with a thrilling 4-3 loss to the host #1 Pinnacles.
Penticton led 4-1 at the break with Zack Smith scoring for Vernon on a nifty pass from midfielder Lucas Wood.
The Vernon boys mounted a comeback in the second half as Smith scored again, volleying a corner by Liam Glennon.
“Liam placed a perfect ball between two defenders for a great assist and Zack drove it in,” said coach Sean Smith.
Five minutes later, Tanner Wiebe made things interesting by bouncing in a shot from outside the 30-yard line. Defender Grahame Tassie was outstanding.
In Game 2, United got off to a fast start and didn’t look back defeating Kamloops Blue 8-1 behind six goals from Smith.
Glennon and Sheldon Yakura each tallied singles in front of a superb Man of the Match Logan Quibell.
U11 girls uncover strong results
Vernon’s two U11 girls development soccer teams came out of their season openers with some well-rounded results.
United #1 drew 1-1 with Shuswap as Kelsey Carriere scored, and then tied Kamloops 2-2 on goals from Makena Kersey and Danica Ariano, and assists from Nadia Smith and Julia Thompson.
United #2 team had an impressive start to their season with a 4-0 win over Penticton, with goals from Hannah Miller, Elena Gaskell, and Olivia McLennan.
A hard-fought match against Kelowna showed a different result, however, with Vernon down 4-0.