It was a bit of rocky start to the Provincial B Cup for Nelson Selects squads as only two of the seven teams managed a win in the opening day of action.
In Prince George — the host of the boys provincial tournament — the U17 Selects received a timely goal from Ethan Perkins to edge out Juan de Fuca in Thursday action. Selects keeper Cole Sutherland was solid in goal to earn the shutout.
On Friday the Selects will hope to ride the opening win when they match up against the Surrey FC Rangers.
The U13 Boys had a tough time with the top-seeded squad from Saanich and lost 5-0 in the tournament opener.
“Our boys played fairly well, but lost to a strong team,” said U13 coach Kerry Dyck. “Both Bradey Sookero and Blake Markin-Helleckson played well in net. Ezara Foy and Jaden Dyck were solid in central midfield, forcing most of their play to come up the wings.”
The U13s will take on the Williams Lake Storm on Friday afternoon.
The U14 Boys also had a hard time against the South Burnaby Metro Strikers who scored a 3-0 win over the Columbia-Kootenay champion Nelson team. The U14s take on the host Prince George Kodiaks on Friday afternoon.
The U16 Boys dropped a 4-1 decision to the North Vancouver Fury on Thursday afternoon.
“They were the better side, but we also just couldn’t get any breaks,” said U16 coach Chuck Bennett.
James Miller scored the only goal for Nelson late in the match to break the North Vancouver shutout.
The U16s next challenge is the Williams Lake Storm on Friday afternoon.
In North Vancouver — the host of the girls provincial tournament — the Selects U16 Girls scored the surprise of the opening day when they downed coastal champ Coquitlam Metro Ford 1-0.
The U16s squeaked into the provincials with a last minute goal in the Kootenay playdowns to earn the Columbia-Kootenay seed and entered the provincial tournament as underdogs.
With just under five minutes left to play in the Thursday match, the turning point came.
“In the second half it was our two center backs combining on a classic corner kick goal that carried the day,” said U16 coach Justin Willans. “With ten minutes left Daina Shaw curled a perfect in swinging corner to the far post where it was met by a perfectly timed run by Jena Wheeldon who side footed it into the net.
“We stood strong for the next 10 and that was that. Everyone played well, Katie Bow was outstanding in net making a critical save with about 15 remaining that kept us in it.”
The U16s will take on the Williams Lake Storm on Friday in hopes of keeping the roll going and edging closer to a Cinderella trip to the gold medal match.
Heading into the tournament the U15 Girls side were the Nelson favourite after earning a silver medal in last year’s Provincial B Cup. The U15s came up against a tough West Vancouver squad on Thursday.
West Vancouver jumped out to the lead in the first half while controlling play. U15 keeper Haley Cooke was the difference in holding the Nelson side in the game over the first half.
Early in the second half, Nelson’s Naomi Perkins scored to tie the game and the Selects had the momentum. Then with 20 minutes left in the game, West Vancouver scored to take the lead and held on for the 2-1 win.
The U15s will now take on the powerful Quesnel Strikers on Friday afternoon.
The U14 Girls played a gritty game against Langley FC, but couldn’t find their scoring touch. The U14s lost 2-0 in the opener and will play the Prince George Kodiaks on Friday.
“That’s a pretty good result for us,” said Bennett, who doubles as Nelson Youth Soccer president when asked if the two wins are what the association expected on the opening day of the provincials.
“The U16 Girls win is a great surprise and let’s hope they keep it going.”
Bennett admitted that the road now gets a little more bumpy for the Selects teams that lost .
“It will be tough for those teams to get to the gold medal match now,” said Bennett. “However, the bronze medal game is still very much in play for all the teams.”