Vernon United complete tournament trifecta

Vernon United collects Under 17 gold at Kelowna Canada Day Soccer Tournament.

The Vernon United U17 boys are golden again.

United collected another gold medal by shutting down Edmonton Southwest Soccer Club 2-0 in Monday’s championship game of the Kelowna Canada Day Soccer Tournament.

The first goal was scored by Matt Kreutz, who beat the lone defender and then the goaltender. The second goal was a beautiful chip shot over the goalie’s head by Mike Bennett.

On Saturday, United opened the tourney by slipping past Edmonton 2-1 on goals by Victor Gouche and Nathan Gatenby.

They lost their second match that day 2-0 to the Calgary United, but rebounded Sunday with a 2-1 win over the Edmonton Drillers in a shootout.

Dylan Towns provided United’s regulation goal. Menno Burnet was named Vernon’s tournament MVP.

This was United’s third tournament gold in as many attempts, which will provide them with confidence heading into provincials next weekend in Prince George.

Meanwhile, Zach Smith scored with three minutes to play to give Vernon United a 1-0 win over Calgary’s Blizzard Azzuri in the U11 boys championship game at the Canada Day Tournament.

Tournament MVP Liam Glennon started the play by volleying a ball into the box that Kobe Grant attacked and forced a sprawling save from the Calgary keeper. Smith, who had a disallowed goal earlier in the game, pounced on the rebound and was named Man of the Match.

Keeper Kevin Morgan was rock-solid all weekend, surrendering just three goals in four games.

“The boys were outstanding this weekend,” said United head coach Paul Morgan. “This is a highly skilled group of boys – they play hard for each other, they are very coachable, and they never give up. We asked them to challenge themselves, and for each of them to play to his potential. They did and they were rewarded.”

The U11 crew opened the weekend with a convincing 8-1 victory over Kelowna Mission, goals coming from Saajan Klair, Matt Reich, Max Chirkoff, Smith, Grant, Isaiah Ondrik and Man of the Match Glennon, with a pair.

The offensive attack was supported by stellar defence anchored by Jack Cotter.

Dawson Martian set the pace with two quick goals as United bounced the Kelowna United Red Devils 5-1.

The game then became a battle in the middle with Smith and Man of the Match Ondrik shutting down the Kelowna counterattack. The back line of Cotter, Aiden Skinner, Ben Morgan and Liam Reed were solid. Reich, Glennon and Smith earned second-half goals as Vernon pulled away from Kelowna.

With the weather heating up, Vernon fell 2-1 in penalty shot to the Kelowna United Gladiators.

Despite dominating possession in the first half, Vernon could not finish and were caught on a great Kelowna counterattack breakaway that gave the Gladiators the lead.

Vernon completely controlled the second half, and the pressure paid off when Man of the Match Reid cracked a top-corner shot from well-out in the dying seconds.

Vernon shooters fizzled in the shootout, allowing Kelowna to escape with the victory.