The Nelson Selects female program struck plenty of gold in the East Kootenay last weekend as the rep soccer teams prepare for next month’s Provincial B Cup march.
All four Selects girls’ teams entered the Sam Steele annual tournament in Cranbrook looking for some important preparation for the challenges they will face against the best in BC in early July. All four teams — U13, U14, U15 and U17 — returned to Nelson with gold medals around their next.
U17s Bounce Back
After losing the Kootenay provincial berth to Kootenay South last week, the U17 squad headed to Cranbrook hungry for some wins.
In the first game against the East Kootenay Rovers U18 team, Rebekka Schrader scored for Nelson to help the Selects open the tournament with a 1-0 victory.
In the second game of the weekend against the Creston Blitz 4-1, Nelson’s offence was clicking as Carlie Magilo, Paige Mansveld and Elise Hewet with two fuelled the U17s to a 4-1 win.
Playing in a division that included teams from U16 to U18, the third game had the Selects matched against the East Kootenay Rovers U16 club. Erica Augsten, Mansveld and Schrader boosted Nelson to a 3-1 result.
With gold on the line, the final game of the weekend was a rematch against the Kootenay East U18 girls. Schrader scored the only goal during regulation time and the game had to be decided on a shootout. The Nelson side went five-for-five with Mansveld, Elise Hewet, Tasha Hewet, Scharder and Augsten all converting and sealing the tournament victory..
Overall the girls played some great soccer, with quality ball control, determination and team spirit being the difference,” said Selects coach Cam Paterson. “Everyone stepped it up.”
Now riding a high, the Selects season gets to continue thanks to the Caribou North Region bowing out of the Provincial B Cup. The U17s have been given the spot and will head to Kelowna from July 5 to 8 where they hope to continue their hot streak.
U15s Overcome Adversity
Battling injuries, the U15 Selects headed to Cranbrook with preparation being the primary goal.
In the opening game of the tournament the Nelson side met Columbia Valley and came up on the wrong side of a 2-1 outcome. The Selects played hard despite the loss and scored a beautiful goal when Alex Dehnel crossed the ball to Aroha Taitini-Senechel who converted the header.
In the second game of their Saturday, the U15s took on Cranbrook. Abby Willians scored off a penalty shot thanks to a hand-ball and the score ended in a 1-1 draw.
On Sunday morning the Selects picked the perfect time to play their best game of the weekend. Thanks to a Taitini-Senechel hat trick, the Nelson girls beat Kootenay South 3-0. Despite a 1-1-1 round robin record, the results were good enough to put the Nelson team into the gold medal final which featured a rematch against Kootenay South.
The final remained scoreless after the first half. Five minutes into the second half Taitini-Senechel scored a beauty when she placed the ball into the top left corner of the Kootenay South net. The Selects hung on to the 1-0 lead and secured the gold medal.
The U15s now hope their injured players mend over the next couple weeks at which point they will head to Kelowna for the Provincial B Cup.
U14s Remain Dominant
The U14 Selects continued their impressive 2012 season in Cranbrook by once again capturing a gold medal at the Sam Steele.
In their first match, the Nelson squad faced the Cranbrook Rovers. Scoreless through most of the first half, Emily Graeme found the back of the net at the 20th minute to give Nelson a 1-0 lead that would hold to the break. Nelson continued to attack and were rewarded by second half goals from Lakpa Dietz and Allie Zondervan to give the Selects the win by a score of 3-0.
In the second Saturday game, Nelson faced the Canmore Avalanche. Bronwyn Sutherland opened the scoring, followed quickly with a score by Merissa Dawson to put Nelson ahead 2-0. Canmore countered with a late first half goal to make the score 2-1 for Nelson at the half. The Selects came out strong after the break, with Naomi Perkins scoring six minutes into the half followed by a second goal from Sutherland two minutes later. No more goals were scored by either side, giving Nelson the victory with a final score of 4-1 and first place in their three-team round robin pool.
In semi-final action on Sunday morning, Nelson faced the Creston Blitz. Perkins scored 10 minutes into the game giving Nelson a 1-0 lead that would stand until the break. The Selects ramped up the attack in the second half with Darian Voisard and Dietz adding singles and Perkins getting her second marker of the game for a final score of 4-0.
The gold medal match Sunday afternoon featured Nelson and their West Kootenay rivals Kootenay South. In a spirited first half with exciting end to end action, neither squad was able to convert and the half ended in a 0-0 draw. Early in the second half, Perkins broke the deadlock with an absolute bullet to the top corner of the Kootenay South net from a free kick from outside of the penalty area. Sutherland scored five minutes later and Voisard added a single near the end of the game to give Nelson a 3-0 lead. An own goal from the Kootenay side completed the tally and the Nelson Selects won the match and the tournament title with a final score of 4-0.
“We were once again impressed by the skill and passion of the girls,” said U14 coach Pat Perkins. “Running short a few defenders and with several others playing injured, the players were asked to play in positions that they normally did not play and did so admirably allowing only a single goal in the four games.”
The U14s now hope to cap off a solid run with a provincial title in Kelowna in July.
No Easy Ride for U13s
Having to overcome adversity in the way of injuries and what the coaching described as “inconsistent play,” the U13s managed to take the Sam Steele title with a 3-0 over Fernie in the final.
Nelson’s first match early Saturday morning was a rematch of their second playdown game against Cranbrook — a match they won handily 5-1 — the week before. Nelson didn’t have the same jump or confidence as Cranbrook gave them a decent matchup, but in the end the quality of the Nelson girls showed as they came away with a 2-1 win, with Jessie Vandonselaar getting a brace for the winning side.
On Saturday afternoon the Selects came up against the unknown quantity that was Fernie. Nelson gave up an early goal and had to chase the game for the vast majority of time. Nelson was handed what coaches classified as “some very suspect yellow cards,” but Amy Hodgson came to her team’s rescue with a late equalizer to finish 1-1.
“I felt we had come down in quality significantly from our previous exploits,” said coach Iain Harvey. “Although we were nowhere near as good as we were in the playdown matches, we still had more than enough quality to overcome our opponents and get the easier draw for the semi-finals”
In the semi-final the Selects came up against the Kootenay Region U12 BC Summer Games team which featured seven players who play on the U12 and U11 Nelson Selects teams. The age difference and inexperience of the younger players meant an easy go of things for the U13s, as they ran out comfortable winners by the score of 5-0. Van Donselaar continued to be red-hot for Nelson as she notched a hat trick, with Emma Wheeldon not far behind with two goals in the winning effort.
In the gold medal rematch against Fernie, the U13s had to play without one Wheeldon who suffered an injury. But Nelson overcame the absence of their team leader by taking the match 3-0. Vandonselaar again came through with a further two goals, with an insurance tally by Jordan Andrusak.
“We were vastly superior to Fernie in almost every aspect of that match,” said U13 coach Pat Hodgson. “And the scoreline was not quite reflective of that, as Jessie had hit a post early on in the first half, Megan Tennant almost broke the crossbar with a 25 yard effort in the second half, and we missed several other chances we should have buried to really put them away”.
The U13s will join the large Nelson contingent in Kelowna for the Provincial B Cup tournament next month.