Vernon Tolko Vernon finished sixth in the B.C. Les Sinnott Challenge Cup B Under 14 and 15 Boys Championships in Burnaby last weekend.
Justin Ruschiensky and Jonathan Fraser-Monroe shared U14 keeper duties throughout the tournament which saw Vernon lose 4-0 to the Prince George Timberwolves in a Sunday battle for fifth spot.
Vernon, who collected bronze as a U13 at the 2017 provincials at home, drew 1-1 with Kensington-Little Mountain Mustangs of Vancouver in their opener with Fraser-Monroe holding fast in net, fronted by Liam Collins and Rogan Campbell. Alexander Jones sent a missile that went over the keeper’s head to put Vernon on the sheet first.
The Mustangs battled back but it remained scoreless in the first half. Justin Arsenault and Carter Leahy were supported by a strong midfield of Cam Acob and Owen Challen. The Mustangs levelled the score midway through the final half.
Tolko then toppled the Terrace Selects 4-0 with Acob sending a free kick cross to Alex Kazimer, who drilled it over the keeper’s head at five minutes.
Vernon worked tirelessly the rest of the half, maintaining the majority of possession. Jonah Strachan buried a corker to put Vernon up 2-0 at the half.
Refreshed after the break, Vernon came out strong putting multiple shots on the net. Cash Anderson lobbed a ball over the defenders and finished the shot for his first of the tournament. With only two minutes left, Jones sent a long ball for further insurance.
Vernon ended preliminary play Saturday afternoon by falling 1-0 to Port Coquitlam Euro-Rite FC.
The teams battled back and forth before Port Coquitlam connected. Even though Nick Noren, Marcus Erho and Landon Janke pummeled the keeper, supported by Ronan Hinds on the wing, Vernon failed to get the equalizer.
United U15 Boys opened with a 3-2 loss to Penticton Pinnacles, who finished a point against them in the regular season.
Owen Davis, from Cole Grevatt, and Tyler Riva, from Quinn Soon, gave Vernon a 2-0 lead, but the heat and the pace caught up to them in the second half with Penticton equalizing 2-2 before converting a penalty kick in the final minute. The Pinnacles ended up second overall0
Vernon then bowed 2-1 to Gorge/Lakehill of Victoria with Grevatt connecting from Davis to make it 1-1.
An own goal off a corner gave Gorge/Lakehill a 2-1 advantage and eventual win.
Vernon finished the round-robin match by blanking the Nelson Selects 1-0 with Davis scoring, assisted by Ethan Greenan, in torrential rain.
United then lost 4-0 to the Abbotsford Storm in playoff action for fifth and sixth. The highlight of the tournament for United was the Fair Play Award from BC Soccer for their division. Coaches Rick Ogasawara and Mike Stoll, and manager Llona Davis were commended on how well the team played and positively represented Vernon.