A goal by Naomi Perkins with only 10 minutes left in the final game, gave the L.V. Rogers Bombers a 3-1 lead and a little breathing room against a tough Kelowna Secondary School squad.
It was a lead the Bombers would hold onto to register a perfect record in the KSS girls soccer tournament over the weekend in Kelowna.
The goal by Perkins was a thing of beauty. The savvy striker went across two defenders before hitting a perfect left-footed strike into the top corner. The KSS keeper may have moved, but she certainly never had a chance. For Perkins it was her second of the game. Midway through the first half, Perkins drove a hard shot right through the outstretched arms of the KSS keeper. That goal gave LVR a 2-0 lead. Laurel Halleran gave LVR an early lead when she drove a free kick from about 30 yards out off the crossbar and just across the goal line.
Kelowna was able to respond midway through the second half when LVR found itself a bit disorganized and a Kelowna midfielder pounced on a a loose ball to also knock one off the crossbar and in.
The Kelowna goal gave the hosts new life and they began to press hard for the equalizer. Despite the pressure, LVR didn’t break and were able to keep Kelowna from any significant scoring chances before Perkins put the game away.
“It would be hard to argue with the fact that Naomi was the best player in the tournament,” said head coach Chuck Bennett. “Kelowna had been watching our previous games so they knew they had to mark her. They did and she still scored two. She also had a handful of great chances and to be quite honest, the Kelowna keeper was probably their best player.”
But Bennett was also quick to point out that it takes a whole team to beat a team like KSS.
“We were the more skilled side and we controlled the majority of the play,” said Bennett. “Our midfield absolutely outplayed theirs. Emma Wheeldon owned the middle. I think she won every ball, not just in this game, but in every game.”
Although there was no official final for the tournament the game on Saturday afternoon, pitted the only two undefeated teams again each other. For LVR it was payback for a heartbreaking 2-1 loss on penalties at the same tournament a year earlier.
LVR opened the tournament with a 4-1 win over Mount Boucherie of Kelowna. Wheeldon, Emily Taylor, Maddie Sternloff and Camille Gebhart scored for LVR. In its second game, LVR took on an over-matched side from Williams Lake. The final score in that game was 11-1. Amy Hodgeson led the way with three goals, Halleran added two more and singles went to Wheeldon, Sternloff, Perkins, Taylor Zimmer, Darian Voisard and Hanna Quinn.
LVR faced off again Rutland in its third game, but two early injuries decimated Rutland, who had no subs and had to play most of the game down two players. The final score in that game was 6-0. Perkins had a pair, while Wheeldon, Sternloff, Reece Hunt and Allie Zondervan all had singles.
This tournament caps a remarkable start to the season for the Bombers, who now sit 8-0 for the season.
“This is a special team,” added Bennett. “We have more depth than we’ve ever had at every position. And then we have Naomi Perkins. She is a truly a gifted player and now watching her as a senior she has matured into the type of player who can just take over a game. It is fun to watch.”