U14 Selects earn silver at 3-Blind Refs tournament in Montana
The Nelson Selects U14 Girls tuned up for the B.C. Soccer Provincial B Cup Playdowns by scoring a silver medal at the “3 Blind Refs” tournament in Kalispell, Montana.
A last minute schedule and group change threw the girls into some early morning disarray with their first match against Flathead Soccer Club from Kalispell, as an 8 a.m. kickoff time and a lack of sleep proved to be immense hurdles for the Selects to overcome, as they lost the match 2-0.
“We came out looking rather lethargic.” said head coach Iain Harvey, “and we paid the price despite my feeling that we were much the better side.”
Nelson’s second game had them resorting back to their form from the Terry Walgren tournament, as they brushed aside Fernie United 3-1 without really ever getting out of second gear.
Taylor Zimmer, Laurel Halleran, and Jessie Van Donselaar struck for the Selects, with Van Donselaar coming into a large degree of praise from her coach.
“She was essentially unplayable today” said Harvey, “and on this form she will be a significant factor in our Provincial playdown games next weekend.”
With their next match not till 1230pm on Sunday morning, the girls could afford to have some extra sleep and a leisurely breakfast before heading into their third match, a tense one versus playdown rival KEYSA Rovers from Cranbrook.
With many motivational words ringing in their ears from their loud & abrasive coach, Nelson controlled the match from start to finish and won 2-0 to grant passage to the final that afternoon. Megan Tennant and Marley Reynold scored the goals, and Amy Hodgson & Jasmine Faulkner also added goals that were disallowed for minor infractions.
Assistant Coach Pat Hodgson was delighted with the result, remarking that “we showed them what we are capable of, and although Rovers gave it an earnest effort, the quality of our play was fantastic today.”
The Selects lined up on Sunday afternoon to play against Electric City Soccer Club from Great Falls, Montana in the final. Nelson got off to a flyer, with an early goal from Emma Wheeldon giving the Selects the lead, however some suspect decisions then started to go against the Selects, one of which lead to the tying goal before the end of the first half.
Despite holding the majority of possession, Nelson couldn’t translate that stat into further goals, and the match ended 1-1 & went to extra-time, which solved nothing, followed by the dreaded penalty-kick shoot out.
Having never been in that particular situation before, the girls couldn’t keep their nerve, and lost the shoot out 3-0, despite the best efforts of Nelson keeper Ava Strautman.
Harvey was disenchanted at the end of the match, “We were better than them in every aspect of the game, and it’s a big disappointment to lose in that manner, especially when comparing our style of soccer to theirs, but I give them and their keeper all the credit in the world for being able to neutralize us after our first goal. Although the ref wasn’t our friend on the day and it affected our game to a degree, our girls will bounce back from this even stronger from the experience.”
The U14s will now prepare for the next weekend, where they will play on Sunday in Fruitvale against regional rivals Kootenay South and KEYSA Rovers for the opportunity to represent the Kootenays at the Provincial Finals July 4-7 in North Vancouver.