Rep soccer has kicked off a new season in the North Okanagan.
Vernon United Tolko fell behind 3-0, then nearly rallied in the second half but ended up on the short end of a 5-4 decision against Kelowna United in the regular-season opener for both teams Sunday morning at Greater Vernon Athletic Park.
Tolko goals came from Michael Lapp, Hunter Blucke, Saul Saunders and Cole Johnson.
A strong Penticton Pinnacles squad defeated Vernon United Tolko U14 3-1 in the Peach City Sunday.
The game was very even in the first half until a penalty shot was called against Vernon; it was quickly 1-0 for Penticton. Penticton kept on the pressure and only a great defensive play by Vernon’s centre back Gavin Ingbrigtson stopped a clear breakaway by a Penticton forward.
In the second half, Tolko came back with vengeance and scored an early goal on a perfect pass by Rowan Calder to Jerome Winter and quickly in the net to equalize 1-1. As the second half progressed, Penticton pressured again and a deflection off the back of a Penticton player just eluded the Vernon keeper and it was 2-1 Pinnacles. Soon after, a perfect shot to the top corner of the net put Penticton ahead 3-1 and that is where the game ended.
Ingbrigtson was named player of the game for Vernon with honourable mention to Jentenzen Peterson for his offensive drive and Henry Routley for his tenacity throughout the game.
The Vernon United TolkoU13s traveled to Penticton to play their season opener. United got off to a great start with rookie Leif Ritcher opening the scoring after Thomas Nice blistered a shot from the right wing which the Penticton keeper pushed aside. Ritcher jumped on the rebound and buried his chance in the first five minutes.
United continued to build up pressure and rallied up the score with two snipes from Nice. Penticton got one back just before half time which kept the game close.
With the change of sides and the wind differential, Penticton gained more of the possession and tied the game to finish 3-3. The Tolko timber crew backline, led by Alessandro Durfeld, Dane Beaton, James Lockwood, Ethan Nickoli and Spencer Elder, controlled the backfield and maintained extended periods of possession.
In the midfield, Griffin Trickey impressed with his heads up play and ball distribution. Jeffrey Curtis and Rylan Nadurak fought the midfield battles all game with great skill and determination. Liam Greenan, Jessiah Wadsworth and Cole Kopera provided speed on the wings with Nolan Stiven offering support up front.
Lyndon Carleton saw a lot of action in the second half with the Pinnacles looking to even the score and possibly push for the win. Carleton made many great saves and his excellent foot skills showed he can be cool under pressure.
Vernon then travelled to Kelowna Mission for a Sunday afternoon battle vs the Kelowna United Yellow.
Vernon started strong and had an early first chance but couldn’t convert. Kelowna got on the board first and managed to find the back of the net with two strikes from the top of the box. Carleton could only watch as the balls floated over his head.
VU Tolko managed to find the net before half time to make it 2-1. Wadsworth pounced on a loose ball in the box which fooled the Kelowna keeper and scored his first of the season.
The first half proved to be a midfield battle with Trickey gettting overrun by the quick, skillled Kelowna mids.
At half time, Tolko United adjusted to bring back a central midfielder to counter the Kelowna attack and the addition of Curtis helped Vernon gain possession.
Kelowna added another goal to make it 3-1 and then latecomer Cyriaque Anhe found the net with his favoured left-footed shot. It was a back and forth battle with Kelowna adding the insurance marker late in the game.
Vernon United players with notable contributions were Durfeld, Lockwood, Spencer Elder and Trickey.
The Vernon United Tolko U12 Blue boys team played Kamloops in a pair of season-opening games in Kelowna.
In the first game VU fell to 4-2. The boys played a great first game and hustled hard. They made some great runs had nice passing and also worked out a few early season bugs. Goals came from Anderson Bicknell and Stephen Taylor. Nathan Rinkle held keeper duties for the game and Cole Budgen was solid on defense throughout. In Game 2, Vernon beat Kamloops 5-1.
Cale Fraser found the net after the ball was played up the pitch from the back and crossed over to him for the tap-in. A boost of energy after halftime resulted in four more quick goals for Vernon from Jeremy Peterson (two) and Jake McNaughton and Mathew Loewen each got one. United is coached by Mark Budgen and Dana Fraser.
Half of Vernon United Tolko’s U11 squad got their first taste of match play, and a couple other memorable moments, at the Adidas Cup Soccer Tournament in Surrey.
The girls went 2-1 for the tourney with an incomplete match due to a terrifying report of a gunman sited in the bushes surrounding the Newton Athletic Park. A stampede of fleeing children and families put an early end to tournament play for the day. An arrest was made and the weapon was discovered to be a pellet gun.
The girls and families were able to put the frightening moment behind them as they prepared for their flag-bearer honours, as part of the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Whitecaps game versus the Seattle Sounders that evening.
Stellar goaltending over the weekend came from Mena Bhatt, Lexi Thiessen, Lena Hoard, Kelise Adams and Adison Janke. Strong play in the defensive zone was provided by Mya Loxam, Julia Bueckert, Clara Therrien, Hoard, Adams and Bhatt. Offensive pressure came from the likes of Rylee Porter, Maya Nerling, Maya Johnson, Grayce Kennedy, Amelia Spitzer, Addyson Beacom, Thiessen and Janke.
Vernon United Tolko U12 Girls had a successful trip to Surrey for the Adidas Cup, going 3-1 in their four games.
They opened up with a 2-0 victory over NCA Rebels, with Lily Schommer and Paige Leahy supplying the goals and Miya Nicolson getting the shutout. Game 2 was a 2-1 victory over Kamloops, thanks to goals from Charlotte Schommer and Emery Britton. Kennedy Mund and Kaylee Carlos shared the net duties.
Sunday morning United came out firing, finishing with a 6-0 win over The Kicks. Addison Bishop had a Messi-like game, potting the hat trick and assisting on two others. Schommer, with two, and Leahy rounded out the scoring. Grace Collins, Renee Acob, and Emi Nicolson had solid games throughout the weekend. Nicolson again got the shutout.
In their last game, against another team from Kamloops, United fell behind 2-0 in the first half. United pressed in the second half and Britton found the back of the net with five minutes to go. Time ran out as United continued to try for the equalizer. Emelia Bolin anchored the defence on the backline all weekend, as United outscored their opponents 11-3 over the course of the weekend. Thanks to coaches Paul Britton, Sena Bishop, Julie Bolin and Mike Collins for their dedication.
Vernon United Tolko U15 Girls had a tough start to the season against the Kelowna Jr Heat, melted by Kelowna to the tune of 5-1.
Kelowna scored early on in the game, but Anna Hirschkorn was quickly able to tie it up with a high-flyer on a direct free kick. Paige Cover and Skylee Sigurdson-Poirier put some good pressure on the Kelowna keeper, but the Heat came back to score two goals before the end of the half.
In the second half, the Vernon team came out strong with defenders Allie Maltman, Emma Glasser, Mia Maltman and Jessi Cleverley consistently forcing the play up into the Kelowna end, while midfielders Hirshckorn , Jordyn Clarke, Kendall McKinnon and Cover battled hard to get the ball to Sigurdson-Poirier. Despite all of these efforts, and Jordyn Kisilevich’s amazing goalkeeping/aerial acrobatics, the Heat was able to score two more goals.