Morning Star Staff
The Vernon United #1 bowed 2-1 (4-1) in penalty kicks to the Prince George Kodiaks in the finals of the Okanagan Ice Breaker Under 12 Rep Boys Soccer Tournament Sunday at Beasley Park in Lake Country.
United keeper Micah Martens had no chance on any of the Kodiak shootout attempts, while Vernon’s tourney MVP Perez Vermeulen scored on United’s second shot.
Captain Finn Plummer made a great run down the left side and found the left, low corner of the net, for United’s regulation goal with 11 minutes remaining. Prince George equalized on a gorgeous header with five minutes to play.
Man of the Match Zach Agar anchored a stingy United back line along with Kody Kongsdorf, while Owen Miller and Alex Ogunbiyi ran miles up front and on the half line.
Nick Mitchell posted an opening-half shutout for United, who won their pool at 3-0 after grounding the Kelowna United U11 Wolfpack 6-0 Saturday afternoon.
Martens and Mitchell shared the shutout, while Miller scored twice, including the winner off a corner by Ogunbiyi.
Martens netted his first Rep goal, on a cross by Miller, while Plummer stole the ball from a Kelowna player and scored after some fancy footwork, making it 3-0.
Vermeulen, named Man of the Match, buried a hard, long drive for United’s fourth goal, while Miller got the fifth on a nifty play with Seb Wenger and Kongsdorf.
Ogunbiyi completed the offence on a penalty shot, awarded after he was taken down in the 18.
“A shootout is a cruel way to lose a gold-medal game, but the boys played their hearts out and showed loads of talent,” said United head coach Kevin Mitchell, assisted by Yogi Kongsdorf.
The Vernon United #2, meanwhile, toppled Kelowna U11 Wolfpack 7-1 for a bronze medal Sunday morning.
Vernon jumped to an early lead when Brendan Yakura converted on a nice pass from Vernon’s tourney MVP Ben Purvis, who made it 2-0 on a long, solo run after intercepting an errant pass.
Yakura then went on a long dash of his own to make it 3-0, while Purvis nailed a corker into the far corner of the net just before the break.
Mika Burns opened the second-half attack on a play involving Braeden Cooper and Man of the Match Jarrod Latta, while Purvis made it 6-0 from the left wing.
Vernon exchanged regular keeper Dylan Huber, who continued as a midfielder, with defender Noah Schneider, who was unlucky as Kelowna looped a ball over his head.
Cooper, from CJ Storey, finished the United offence.
In their Saturday pool games, Roy Cooper’s crew bowed 3-1 to the Kamloops Blaze in the morning and then fell 3-2 (4-3) in penalty kicks to Prince George in an afternoon showdown.
Kamloops recorded an early goal, but strong defence by Adam Raber and Yakura kept it a 1-0 game until shortly before half time when the Blaze connected again.
Vernon came out strong in the second half and Huber made several great saves to keep United in the game.
Purvis headed in a cross by Raber after a corner by Cooper before Kamloops added a sweet third goal with Vernon pressing hard. Burns was game MVP for United.
Against Prince George, Purvis managed an early goal as Vernon dominated first-half play. Strong pressure by Vernon led to a nice interception by Yakura, who fed Cooper for the 2-0 goal.
Vernon’s speedy defence, led by Latta and Declan Stevenson, stifled the Kodiaks.
Prince George came out flying in the second half and scored on a play that appeared to be offside, and equalized on a scramble. The teams went to a 14-player shootout with Man of the Match Huber facing no chance as the young referee had the players incorrectly line up from about six yards out.
The Vernon United U14 girls also struck bronze in the Ice Breaker, brushing back the Calgary NSCD 4-1 in their final tournament game Sunday.
After round-robin play, Vernon tied with Kelowna Elite in points, but due to a loss in head-to-head action with Kelowna, the Vernon girls received the bronze.
Coaches Brett Bandy and Jennie Currie were impressed with United’s play.
“We were relieved that the other team had to choose Player of the Game as so many of the girls were deserving of it and we wouldn’t be able to choose,” said Bandy. “The girls were first to the ball, had great positional play and used strategy to capitalize on opportunities in the games.”
Calgary scored the first goal off a defensive mistake, but Vernon put the pressure on and kept it on all game.
Goals came from Cayleigh Graham (2), Brianne Robertson and game MVP Reyhanna Akkurt.
United opened with a 2-1 loss to the Prince George Kodiaks, getting the first goal from Cailin Correia, off a scramble. Prince George responded quickly with a high shot and scored again with a rush to the net. Defender Kara Ross was Vernon’s game MVP.
United then shut down Nelson 2-0 on goals from Robertson and Akkurt scoring the second. Jordynne Tomiak was stellar in goal with her first shutout of the season. Graham took Player of the Game
In their lone Saturday game, United lost 1-0 on penalty kicks to Kelowna Elite with Lydia Wood, Maya Bandy and Alexa Tymkiw converting their shooout chances. Centre midfielder Maddy Laranjo was United’s game MVP.
Vernon U15 girls shut out Nelson 2-0 for bronze Sunday after going 1-2 in pool play.
United, coached by John and Michelle Hughes, stopped Nelson 1-0, lost 3-0 to Kelowna United and bowed 1-0 to Prince George in round-robin action.