The Tolko Vernon United Under 15 girls earned a bronze medal at the Provincial B Challenge Cup Soccer Championships in Nelson.
United recorded a pair of draws and a victory in preliminary play before shutting down Oak Bay Bays of Victoria 2-0 in Sunday’s bronze-medal match at Lakeside Park.
Mason Christensen, with the winner, and Alyssa Racine, off a free kick just outside the 18, registered goals in the medal game. Shauna Bradley, who was marvellous all tournament, posted the shutout.
Paige Latta supplied the snipe as United outchanced Kelowna in a 1-1 draw, while Racine nailed a 25-yard corker up and over the keeper with four minutes remaining, as United drew 1-1 with North Vancouver.
Danika Roy, with a deuce, Evangeline Koshure and Maja Splawinski handled the Tolko attack in a 4-1 win over Nelson.
The Marpole Phoenix of Vancouver dispatched Kelowna 3-1 in the gold-medal tilt. Kelowna advanced to the final with a better goal differential than Vernon. Marpole has won gold in their last three age-groups.
United was coached by Al Gee, Ley Christensen and Rick Latta. They won the Bellingham Blast tournament a few weeks earlier.
“Overall, we had a great tournament and season, and we are extremely proud of all the girls,” said Gee. “Our sights were set on the gold-medal game and we came within one goal of realizing that.
“The moment that really stands out for me was our resiliency, from an emotional low Saturday night when we found out we were not going to the final, to coming out Sunday guns blazing. That’s the type of girls that play for us, and the type of team that I’m extremely proud to be associated with. We are a team in the true sense of the word, players, coaches, managers, and parents.”
Striker Jairaj Sidhu used her wheels for numerous strikes in the bronze-medal tilt.
The Tolko Vernon United U17 boys lost 3-1 to the Kootenay South Storm in the Challenge Cup bronze-medal final Sunday at Kings Park in Penticton.
Vernon finished second in their group after round-robin play, finishing just behind Surrey CCB Elite, the eventual provincial champions.
United were without their regular keeper David Weir and Mika de Vin so Chase Petruk stepped up and performed admirably in net. Vernon’s Elias Jensen unleashed a 30-yard screamer that would have been a sure goal had a Kootenay defender not been in the way.
“It was a missile,” said Tolko assistant coach Rolf Hirschkorn. “Their defender was just in the right place at the right time.”
Both sides traded chances, but it was the Storm who opened the scoring and followed up with a second quickly.
“It was disheartening for the boys,” said Tolko United head coach Erick Burnet. “Our younger boys were technically the better side, but the size and height of the older boys wore them down.”
Kootenay scored once again in the second half before United responded in the 70th minute. Jensen crossed a ball into the 18-yard area where Scott Coulthard flicked the ball on to Mees Geelkerken, who went low from the six.
Vernon dominated play from then on and had several chances to score again. James Huntington rattled a header off the crossbar and various players had other chances.
“Overall the tournament and season was a great success,” said Burnet. “The majority of the boys have played up one to two years in age group and they did an awesome job. Next year we’re going for gold.”
Peter Hirschkorn and Wyatt Carter were noted for their physical and strong play on defence.