The Girls U13 Nelson Selects reached for the stars, but they ended up coming short at the BC Soccer Provincials in Kelowna. Nelson lost all three matches matches, but was able to end on a high note, winning their last game to establish the seventh place finish.
Nelson had high hopes coming into the tournament, as coach Ian Harvey felt they had the talent to make an impact. Their inexperience in big match situations went against them in their first game against Chilliwack.
The Selects dominated play for most of the game, but they couldn’t capitalize on their chances. Chilliwack would end up scoring the lone goal with only ten minutes left in the match on a defensive error by Nelson.
“Our football was exemplary,” said coach Harvey. “But it was bitterly disappointing to be unable to take advantage of our quality play, and get the results I feel we deserved.”
The girls next game was against Williams Lake Storm. Nelson came out flying and was able to take the lead from a strike by Emma Wheeldon.
Unfortunately Nelson would give Williams Lake three sloppy goals. Losing the match 3-1.
“This match was a crushing blow to any hopes we had of gaining a medal.” said assistant coach Pat Hodgson, “And the mood in our camp was very glum following the match.”
Nelson tried to pick themselves up for the next game against the eventual gold medalists Central City Breakers (Surrey), but the Lower Mainland side showed their class pummeling the Selects 6-0.
“We couldn’t come close to their individual flair and brilliance on and off the ball.” said Harvey. “Although it would have been nice to finish with something positive out of the match. Amy Hodgson could only hit the bar from a tight angle in the second half, and that was the only sight of a goal we really had.”
After some team bonding, Nelson came back to life in their final game against Terrace Kermodels.
The Selects dominated the game winning 7-1. Emma Wheeldon added to her personal tally by scoring an amazing six goals. Amy Hodgson added the other Nelson goal.
“The experience of playing in these high-pressure games matches will stand is in good stead down the road,” said Harvey. “And I know the girls will want to come back next season more prepared to deal with high calibre opponents such as these.”
The U13s can now take some time off to enjoy the summer, before embarking on a trip to play in the Sandpoint tournament in September.