The Nelson Selects U13 girls learned some valuable lessons at the annual Terry Walgren Memorial Tournament.
The U13s finished with a record of two wins and two losses, losing in the final to the Nelson Selects U14 in a battle of local sides and coming away with a silver medal for their efforts.
The team started off brightly, coming up with an exciting 3-0 win over the Creston Blitz U14 girls. Nelson put Creston out of the match early with three goals in the first half as Amy Hodgson, Maya Ida and Emma Wheeldon sent the opposition reeling. The Selects then failed to add to their tally in the second half, despite holding the vast majority of the play and possession as goalkeeper Ava Strautman had very little to do to earn the clean sheet.
As good as they were in the first match, they were even better in the afternoon versus the Kootenay South U13/14 team, showing a vast amount of footballing superiority against a side that they will have to beat to earn a spot in provincials, and pulling off a 5-0 victory.
The margin of victory could have been greater if not for a lot of profligacy in front of goal in the second half. Nelson scored all their goals in the first half thanks to Jessie Vandonselaar, Laurel Halleran (from the penalty spot) and a simply amazing run and finish from the half way line from Emma Wheeldon.
“It was one of the finest goals I’ve ever seen a local rep team score,” said Selects coach Iain Harvey.
The coaches were also impressed with the fourth goal that started with Taylor Zimmer producing a curling pass from the right wing in behind the defence for Hodgson to run onto and simply pass the ball into the corner of the goal.
Nelson continued to dominate in the second half but could not turn the screw further, as several chances went begging.
“The next opponent for the ladies was a different story, as they had to match up against an extremely tough and well coached [Nelson] U14 side,” said Harvey.
The U14s had come off a magnificent silver medal performance in Coeur D’Alene, and their experience, size and age were large advantages over the younger side, winning the match 5-0.
The U13s had to regroup Sunday afternoon, as their positive results on Saturday got them into the final against the self same Nelson Selects U14 squad again. Once again, the advantages that the U14s enjoyed in the morning match came to the forefront. The U14s opened up a 3-0 lead, but the younger team started to push back and held their own in the second half. The final ended in a 3-0 score.
“We learned some valuable lessons over the weekend,” said assistant coach Pat Hodgson. “And those included the importance of finishing chances as they come to us and that we firmly believe our style of play and skill will help us to be a real nightmare for both Kootenay South and Cranbrook in the playdowns for provincials.”
The U13s have their next series of matches over the weekend of June 9 and 10 when they will have their provincial playdown games at Nelson’s Lakeside pitch.