Vernon United's Elias Jensen (left) and Kelowna's Seth Barton battle for the ball during a U14 boys Thompson Okanagan Youth Soccer League match Sunday at Marshall Field.

Vernon United's Elias Jensen (left) and Kelowna's Seth Barton battle for the ball during a U14 boys Thompson Okanagan Youth Soccer League match Sunday at Marshall Field.

United U17 boys snuff out Blaze

The Vernon United U17 boys opened their Thompson Okanagan Rep Soccer League season Sunday with a 2-1 victory over the Kamloops U18 Blaze.

The Vernon United U17 boys opened their Thompson Okanagan Rep Soccer League season Sunday with a 2-1 victory over the Kamloops U18 Blaze.

The first goal came off a cleverly-played pass from Dylan Towns to Lendrit Ademi, who beat the Kamloops keeper with a one-timer. The second goal was the result of a nice three-way play, with Liam Curran giving a precession pass to Lucas Ross, who set up Ademi for another one-timer.

Vernon keeper Dave Weir made a series of clutch stops in the second half with Kamloops applying pressure. The Blaze converted in the closing minutes.

Nathan Gatenby hit the post on a tremendous kick in the second half. Defenders Menno Burnet and Ben Aspenlieder repeatedly foiled the Kamloops offence.

Under 13 boys bounce Kelowna

The U13 boys jumpstarted their season with a 3-1 road win over Kelowna United.

The hosts started the scoring before Vernon responded when Kazuki Comley went top shelf. Ben Purvis put Vernon up with a sweet top-corner shot from the top of the box before halftime.

Vernon added insurance on a scramble with Perez Vermeulen burying a shot low.

“It was a great team win; we came together as a unit,” said United head coach Roy Cooper. “We had lots of good movement off the ball. Micah Martens was solid in net and we were very impressed with newcomer Trent Graham, who was solid on the back line.”

United U16s played to a 1-1 tie with Kamloops in lousy conditions Sunday at Marshall #2.

United’s Michael Williamson freed himself of defenders to drill a shot, bottom corner, with three minutes left. Striker Liam Ross just missed on a great shot late in the game. Bryce Dyck was a rock on the back line, with newcomer Nick Berg as his fine centreback partner.

Medema opens U11 attack

United #1 U11 boys opened up league play by ambushing host Kelowna B 6-1.

Gavin Medema converted a rebound for the first Vernon goal, while pressure by Dawson Martian and Keegan Carmichael resulted in the second goal by Zack Manthorne. Liam Reid floated a shot from centre, dropping over the keeper’s outstretched arms, for Vernon’s third goal before the break.

Medema clicked again in the second half, and beautiful footwork saw Isaiah Ondrik record the fifth goal. The final assault came from Martian, who took a pass from Medema right into the net.

In Game 2, United again used a balanced attack and great goalkeeping from Kevin Morgan to stuff Kelowna Red 5-1.

Zack Smith struck first off a gorgeous feed by Ondrik, who shortly after, dribbled past the defence and neatly tucked the ball past the keeper. Joel Kongsdorf was in the right place at the right time as he tapped in a ball off a United corner.

In the second half, Martian received the ball from Ondrik and fired it just over the keeper’s head, while Luc Jones finished the scoring.

United U14 boys kicked off their season by falling 6-2 to Kelowna Sunday morning at Marshall Field #4.

Things were closely contested in the first half with Kelowna getting a breakthrough at 10 minutes, then doubled their lead in the 24th minute mark, getting a lucky bounce off a rebound after Connor Holliday made a great save off a breakaway chance.

Vernon countered when a Kelowna defender headed a Morgan Nichols’ cross into his own net. Owen Burnet rattled a free kick off the crossbar, but Gavin Mason was there to pounce on the rebound for the equalizer five minutes from half.

Kelowna retook the lead with only seconds left in the half. Kelowna got an early goal in the final half and added two late tallies.

Sam Eggert, Nichols, Peter Hirschkorn and Burnet had strong games on defence, while Mason and Malcolm Wiens plugged up the middle.

Christensen pockets pair

Mason Christensen scored twice as the Vernon U13 girls shut down Penticton 3-0 Sunday afternoon at Marshall #4.

Strikers Alyssa Racine, Jai Sidhu and Christensen sparkled with Sidhu scoring on a great solo effort. Coach Al Gee also had praise for midfielder Abbey Magnus with a number of strong attacking runs. Shawna Bradley was solid in net.

In U15 girls play, Vernon began their season with a 5-0 bouncing of the Kamloops Blaze Orange at Marshall #5.

Brianne Roberstson opened the offence with a towering kick just over the keeper and inside the post. Maya Bandy made it 2-0 on an amazing individual run, putting on a ball-control clinic before unleashing a low blast.

United kept the Blaze hemmed in and tested their keeper early in the second half before Reyhana Akkurt was stoned on a rocket but lobbed in the rebound. Minutes later, Bandy connected from a golden corner by Alexa Tymkiw. United closed things out when a voracious effort by Emilee Kronbauer saw her beat the keeper to a rebound and put it up and over for Robertson, who guided the ball in using her body.

U16 Girls fall to Selects

The U16 girls were shaded 3-2 by the Shuswap Selects despite outchancing the Selects 25-7 and enjoying 14 corners. Aryana Jacura and Hannah Love handled the offence, while Teigan Moore sailed some sweet corners and Shelby Hughes shone in the midfield.

The U14 girls bowed 4-2 to Kamloops with Millie Harron and Jamie Grages getting the snipes for Vernon.

“It was a difficult game for the girls,” said coach Michelle Hughes. “They were physically outmatched today, but it was a lesson learned. We’re looking forward to playing them again in round two.”

Awesome corners were supplied by Ashley Glinsbockel, strong midfield came from Alex Drury and good back line support was turned in by April Fletcher.

United #2 U12 girls, coached by Carl McLennan, opened the season with a 4-0 loss to Kelowna United Red in cold, wet and windy conditions at Kings Park in Penticton.

In their second game of the day, United brushed back Kamloops Orange 3-2 with the Blaze scoring first.

Vernon’s Kelsey Falk levelled the score minutes later with a beautiful shot from the top of the box. Kamloops kept up the pressure but goalie Elena Gaskell made some stellar saves to keep it tied at the break.

Early in the second half, Falk scored again. Despite some great defensive play by Nadia Smith, Sydney Bergman, Elliana Gutknecht and Sienna Belanger-Lee, Kamloops rallied to equalize. Vernon responded late when Emily Thomas used some fancy footwork to net the winner.

Vernon #1 U12 fell 4-1 to powerful Kamloops at Kings Park.

United moved the ball well and kept pace with Kamloops, tying it 1-1 on a dazzling long shot from Talia Quiring.

Despite some great runs to net in the second half by Keira Correias, and tireless work by midfielder Emilia Durfeld, the girls weren’t able to capitalize again.

In Game 2, United got gutsy performances by Grace Atkins and Olivia Sawka in a 4-0 loss to Kelowna Red. The defensive line held strong, backed up by keeper Megan Sherwood, who made some great saves, keeping Kelowna to one strike in the first half.