Though Lakeside pitch continues to recover from the long winter, that hasn’t stopped Nelson rep soccer teams. This past weekend several teams headed to the warmer climes of the Okanagan where they took in the annual Ice-Breaker tournament in Winfield.
Here’s a look at how the locals fared.
Nelson’s U15 Boys Select team brought home the first soccer medal of the season, a bronze.
“The team played extremely well against stiff competition,” said coach Scott Lewis. “This is the first time our team has medaled at this tournament.”
The boys opened the tournament with a 2-1 win over Kamloops, which they followed with a 2-nil win over a Saskatchewan U14 provincial team.
In the third game, Nelson lost 3-1 to the U15 Thompson Okanagan Y League team, however Lewis said poor refereeing in that match didn’t help the local side.
Playing without captain Ryan Lewis, who was suspended for getting a red card in the previous match, Nelson lost 5-nil in the semi-final to Vancouver.
The team bounced back in the bronze medal game to knock off Kelowna 2-nil. Ryan Lewis scored on a penalty shot, while Michael Viala scored on a great goal on a shot from just outside the penalty area.
The Nelson Selects U13 girls also put in an impressive showing, placing third in Pool B.
“The girls fought hard in all four games,” said coach Pat Perkins.
Nelson finished with a record of one win, two draws and one loss. The Selects started strong with a 4-1 victory over the Salmon Arm Scorpions. Darian Voisard scored three goals for the Nelson squad and Naomi Perkins converted a penalty kick.
The second game was a fast-paced contest with Kelowna United that ended in a scoreless draw.
In its third game, Nelson posted their only loss of the tournament in a hard-fought contest with Vernon United. The final score was 3-1 for Vernon, with Naomi Perkins scoring the lone Nelson goal on a very well struck shot following a blocked free kick.
In its final match, Nelson played to a 2-2 draw against the unbeaten Calgary Blizzard.
“Our squad showed great courage against a very physical team,” said Perkins.
Voisard scored both goals for Nelson.
Nelson’s U13 boys found themselves in tough against some very good competition.
The tournament began with a 3-0 loss to Vernon, followed by a 7-3 defeat at the hands of the Kelowna A team.
The second game featured goals by Nigel Ziegler on a nice through ball from Quinn Dawson, Oscar Seagram finishing off a pass from Darian Johnson, and a left-footed volley from Dawson just outside the penalty area. Despite the score line, Liam Guenther made a number of great saves, including one on a penalty shot.
In its third game, the Selects faced a strong Kamloops Blaze team and came out on the wrong end of a 7-2 score.
Guenther, playing as striker, showed good instincts by running onto a chip pass by Dawson and heading past a helpless Kamloops goaltender into the vacated net.
Dawson added his second of the tournament after dribbling past several defenders and finishing clinically from close range.
The final game was the closest as the Nelson rep team was edged 2-1 by the Kelowna B team. A strong free kick by Guus Lammers was bobbled by the Kelowna keeper and the ball rebounded to Juna Williams. Williams spotted Jake Anderson alone at the edge of the goal and Anderson made no mistake, volleying the pass into the top corner of the goal.
“Despite the results, it was an instructive weekend,” said coach Paul Dawson. “It was the first time this group of boys had played together in a tournament or on an outdoor pitch this year for that matter, and the coaches had the opportunity to see the first-year players in various positions.”
Like their younger peers, Nelson’s U14 boys weren’t able to scratch out a win in the season’s opening tournament.
Nelson lost all three of its games, however coach Chuck Bennett said it was a learning experience for the boys.
“We played some very strong teams this weekend,” said Bennett. “I think we learned that we can play with these good teams, but we also learned our mental toughness isn’t at the compete level just yet.”
In its opening game, Nelson lost 5-nil to Kamloops, however the score was more representative of mental breakdowns at key points in the game, rather than the actual flow of play, added Bennett.
In its second game, against the U13 Thompson Okanagan Y League team, an own goal on a last second corner kick cost Nelson the draw and ended with a 2-1 loss.
In its final game against a very well organized and highly skilled Calgary team, Nelson was simply outmatched and lost 5-1 in that match.
Nolan Percival scored both of Nelson’s goals in the tournament.
Despite not winning any games, the coaches of the U11 Nelson Select boys team said they were impressed with the team’s performance.
“Overall we were very pleased, considering it was our first time on the grass this year and the boys’ first experience in the rep program,” said coach Kerry Dyck. “Though we lost all four of our games, I felt we were competitive in all of them.”
All of the first three games were very close, with Nelson losing 3-2, 2-1 3-2. Even in the final match, a 4-nil loss, Dyck said the game was very competitive, with two goals coming from deflections and one from a penalty shot.
“We view this as a very positive start to our season and a great base from which to build and move forward,” added Dyck.