The Vernon United Tolko U12 boys went undefeated in four games at the annual Slurpee Cup rep soccer tournament on the May long weekend in Kamloops.
Throughout the weekend the boys play was marked by high energy, strong team defence, and great goaltending from keeper Keaton Lamoureux.
READ ALSO: White beats Blue in all-Vernon U12 soccer match
Vernon opened with a 3-1 win over Calgary’s Mackenzie United on goals from Jake Earle, Colton Visser, and Jeremy Peterson. On Sunday Tolko played the Kamloops Blaze, followed by Williams Lake Lightning. In both games Vernon gave up the first goal, but continued to work hard and ended up winning both games 2-1.
Against Kamloops, goals came from Earle and Peterson, both creating turnovers while pressuring on the forecheck. Against Williams Lake, goals came from Anderson Bicknell, on a cross from Brendan Elder, as well as another unassisted goal from Peterson on a turnover. Great defence and goalkeeping throughout.
On the holiday Monday, United faced a tough Nelson team, again giving up the first goal. Elder scored to tie it 1-1 at half time. Nelson went up a goal in the second half, but Vernon responded with two near identical goals on crosses from Peterson to Coby Therrien to win the game 3-2. The boys had some help from the crossbar in the final minutes to hold the lead.
Elsewhere from the Slurpee Cup in Kamloops:
VERNON UNITED TOLKO U13
Tolko drew the A pool and faced tough competition from Prince George, Sunshine Coast and Nelson.
On Saturday, the boys played Prince George Impact A to a close 2-0 loss and a 3-0 loss versus the Sunshine Coast in the afternoon game. On Sunday, they faced Nelson and lost 4-0. Man of the match awards to James Lockwood in Game 1, Griffin Trickey in Game 2 and Lyndon Carelton in Game 3.
In Monday’s finals vs Prince George B, Vernon United played their best match. Charlie Erickson opened the scoring in the first half off Lockwood free kick into the box. Erickson pounced on the loose ball and pounded the ball into the back of the net. Prince George battled back and tied it up 1-1. Liam Greenan, Jessiah Wasworths, Cole Kopera and Leif Richter had some excellent runs down the wings with great crosses into the box for scoring chances. Jake Blankely calmly took the ball down the left wing, salsa danced his way through two defenders and buried a hard shot into the bottom corner for a brilliant finish.
Prince George pressured during the second half and opened up a couple of long runs from Trickey, Dane Beaton and Alessandro Durfeld. Solid defensive play all tournament from the team with Ethan Nickoli leading with heart and a desire to not want to sub.
Blankely put the game away this time from the right side with a similar samba shuffle through the defenders to bury his shot and seal the win.
Prince George converted on another loose ball in the Vernon zone which may have gone off our own player. Jeffrey Curtis played a great game in keeper and came off his line to play the ball several times. Man of the match in the finals went to Beaton.
VERNON UNITED TOLKO U14
Vernon vs Mackenzie (Calgary) FC
Vernon took on the Calgary team in a hard-fought first game. Tolko struck first with an early goal by striker Jentenzen Peterson. Soon after, Jonah Loewen sent a great pass to Jentenzen and again the striker put it in the net for a 2-0 Vernon lead at the half. The game ended with a 2-0 victory for Vernon with Blake Beaton being named Vernon player of the game for his great defensive work. Honourable mention goes to Jerome Winter and Gavin Ingbrigtson for their great offensive play.
Vernon U14 United vs Kamloops C
For the second game, Vernon took on a Kamloops C home team in a very close game. The game went back-and-forth with strong offence and great saves by both keepers. Kamloops broke the 0-0 tie with a great goal from a perfect header after a corner kick. The game ended 1-0 for Kamloops. Peterson was player of the game for Vernon and Trey Schober and Henry Routley both had strong games for United.
Vernon U14 vs Okanagan FC
In the third game Vernon took on the strong OFC team. In the first half a strange bounce of the ball on uneven turf put the ball over the keeper;s head and it was 1-0 OFC. Vernon stayed with the game and Rowan Calder sent a perfect corner kick to the front of the net and Peterson put it away for a 1-1 game. The game stayed very even in the second half until OFC got a break down the left side and managed to put the ball away for a 2-1 victory. The Vernon player of the game was Peterson. Honourable mention goes to Jonas McMeeking-Walsh and Matthew Acob for strong play and Matthew Hill-Turner for some great saves.
Vernon U14 vs Kamloops C
In the final game of the tournament Vernon took on Kamloops C once again. This time Kamloops came out strong with great offence. The final score was 4-1 Kamloops. Jerome Winter scored for Vernon and Peterson was named player of the game for Vernon.
Overall, United had a great tournament, improved tremendously and played to a much higher level against some stiff competition.