The Nelson Selects U14 Girls stamped their authority all over the Kootenay region Sunday afternoon in Fruitvale as they defeated rivals Kootenay South and the KEYSA Rovers to take the gold medal and the Provincial B Cup berth.
Nelson played Kootenay South (Trail, Castlegar, Rossland, Fruitvale) in an early morning encounter and demoralized their opponents early by scoring in the very first minute through Emma Wheeldon.
The Selects continued their barrage by ending the first half in a 3-0 lead courtesy of another goal by Wheeldon and a strike from outside the penalty area from Laurel Halleran.
Nelson chose to take a few minutes off starting the second half, as Kootenay South tried to get back into the match. But they huffed and puffed and could not blow the Nelson house down, with Halleran adding her second and Wheeldon completing her hat trick to effectively end the match as a contest and providing the Selects with a tidy 5-0 victory.
“We came to play and Kootenay South couldn’t handle our skills,” said head coach Iain Harvey. “We’ve preached possession, possession, possession all season long, and it’s hard to create anything when you cannot get the ball. This was a good performance.”
Nelson then prepared themselves for their KEYSA (Cranbrook) opponents, knowing that another win was their ticket to ride for provincials.
The match proved to be tougher then the earlier encounter, as the girls took a little time to get into their stride, but Amy Hodgson scored a lovely goal 16 minutes into the match and Nelson couldn’t let it be from there. They took the match to their opponents and Wheeldon added another goal before the half.
Nelson slowed things down in the second half and switched off long enough to allow KEYSA a goal from a corner, but the game fizzled out when Halleran added her third tally in two matches and Wheeldon scored her fifth goal of the day to provide the Selects with an unassailable 4-1 lead and the eventual win.
The two results meant the Selects won their second consecutive Kootenay region title and the ensuing provincial championships opportunity.
“I can’t begin to describe how proud I am of my girls” said Harvey. “And the fact that we won while playing good football made it even sweeter for myself, Pat [Hodgson] and Chris [Butterfield], my assistant coaches who have helped every step of the way.”
The U14 girls now head off to the provincials in the first week of July.