A heartbreaking loss for the Nelson U15 Selects has the locals out of medal contention at the BC Soccer Provincial B Cup Championship.
Despite outplaying and out-chancing Kelowna United on Saturday afternoon, the Selects fell 1-0 and will now play in the fifth/sixth game on Sunday morning.
“That was the best game this team has played all season and they should be proud,” said Selects’ coach Paul Burkart. “At this point of the season you are supposed to be peaking as a team and today we showed that. We were inches away from scoring multiple goals.”
With the wind howling off the water at Lakeside Park pitch, the Selects had Mother Nature’s advantage in the first half. Ten minutes into the game Shianne Michalchuk had a great chance, but the strong Kelowna keeper was up to the task, turning away the bullet. Off the ensuing corner, Selects’ defender Emily Taylor also put a great shot on goal but was denied.
Just under 20 minutes into the half, Shane Panko-Dool just barely missed off a rebound to keep the score knotted at zeroes.
Though the Nelson side controlled play in the first 40 minutes, Kelowna escaped without a goal allowed.
Playing against the wind in the second half, the Selects played a tremendous passing game that kept momentum in their favour. Ball movement up the pitch and against the steady gusts produced several great chances.
Five minutes into the half, Kelowna managed to find a small crack in the solid Nelson defence and Selects’ keeper Hanna Quinn turned it away.
The best chance of the half for Nelson came 28 minutes in when Michalchuk was again denied in close by the Kelowna keeper.
At the 34-minute mark, a wind aided pass from deep in the Kelowna end sprung a pair of United strikers on a partial breakaway and the tie was broken.
The Selects continued to press and dominate play, but it was not to be. Nelson’s chance at the gold medal game was over.
“Playing against the wind, we had more chances than they did,” said Burkart. “It was a tremendous effort by the girls, we absolutely deserved to win that game.”
In other action on Saturday, the Nelson U14 Selects topped Kootenay South 4-2 and will play for bronze on Sunday. The Nelson U13 Selects lost 8-1 to a powerhouse squad from Prospect Lake and will play in the seventh/eighth game on Sunday.
Meanwhile, in Penticton at the girls B provincial cup, the U18 Nelson Selects have a shot at a provincial title as they play Chilliwack for gold at noon Sunday. The U16 Nelson Selects take on Pinnacle FC for fifth place at 10 a.m. Sunday.
At the Les Sinnott Memorial Cup in 100 Mile House, the U13 boys Nelson Selects play Terrace Sunday for fifth after dropping their matches 3-1 to Kelowna and 6-0 to Coastal (South Surrey).
“[The] team has played well, but [against] highly skilled opposition,” coach Kevin Carmichael said.
(There were only three teams in their pool as 100 Mile House did not field a team. Vernon was initially set as a replacement but pulled out and no replacement could be found.)
The U14 boys Nelson Selects are playing for seventh place against 100 Mile House on Sunday, while the U15 boys Nelson Selections play for seventh against Quesnel.