Inability to find the back of the net cost the Nelson Selects U13 Girls squad a shot at next month’s Provincial B Cup in Vancouver.
The Selects traveled to Cranbrook on Saturday for a two-game set against the Kootenay East Youth Soccer Association (KEYSA) Rovers.
In the first game at Moir Park, the Rovers jumped out to an early lead when they pounced on a loose ball in front of the Selects goal nine minutes in.
“The girls came out a little nervous at the start, but they regrouped,” said Selects’ coach Pete Quinn.
At the 24-minute mark, Mattea Lorenzo Langevin was sprung on a partial breakaway but hauled down inside the 18-yard box which lead to a penalty shot. Emily Taylor took the kick and made no mistake tying the score at 1-1.
Just before the end of the first half, the Rovers pressed hard again, but Selects’ keeper Hanna Quinn made a big save in close to keep the score even.
The Selects outplayed the Rovers in second half, but could not finish on their chances and the first game ended in a tie.
With provincials completely riding on the second game, the Rovers again took advantage of a slow start by Nelson. Sloppy play in the defensive zone led to a blast from inside the 18-yard box and a 1-0 lead for the home side.
With the strong East Kootenay wind in the their favour for the second half, KEYSA took advantage early with another strike just under four minutes in to grab a 2-0 lead.
The Selects battled hard, but the towering Rovers’ defenders put up an impenetrable wall.
With time running out, the Selects played their most robust 10 minutes of the day and with just over five minutes left in the game Shaen Panko-Dool punched in a loose ball in close to cut the lead and provide a glimmer of hope. In the last five minutes of the contest the Selects gave it all they had, but the Rovers’ keeper kept her team’s lead safe.
“It was a disappointing result for the girls,” said Quinn, noting that the Selects beat the Rovers 2-0 last month at the Terry Walgren Memorial Tournament in Nelson. “The two teams are very close in skill and this will serve as a valuable lesson that in these types of games the entire team needs to be going 100 per cent if we are to win.”
The U13 Girls will travel to Cranbrook again this coming weekend for the Sam Steele Tournament.