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Nelson Selects U14 Girls Pass Test in U16 Division

Bob Hall
By Bob Hall
May 27th, 2014

Relying on speed and determination, the Nelson Selects U14 Girls finished with a hard earned third place at the annual Terry Walgren Tournament at Lakeside pitch.

Playing up two years in the U16 division, the U14 Selects were introduced to a larger field and bigger opposition.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but playing against stronger teams is a great learning experience,” said U14 Selects coach Paul Burkart.

The weekend started with a test against hometown rival Nelson Selects U15 Girls. The game started with intensity and the older squad controlled the play, but 10 minutes into the game an own-goal produced an unexpected 1-0 lead for the younger squad.

Building off the good fortune, the U14 girls matched the skills of their opposition in a back-and-forth contest. Fifteen minutes into the half, winger Jodi Surina made a nice pass to Shaen Panko-Dool who scored in close to make it 2-0 for the younger team. The U15s managed to close the gap late in the half when Jessie Van Donselaar broke though the U14 defence and scored with a top corner shot on U14 keeper Hanna Quinn.

The second half was an exciting 35 minutes with both teams pressing hard. The biggest moments of the half were two huge saves by Quinn that helped preserve the 2-1 win for the U14s.

“It was a tremendous effort by our girls,” said Burkart. “Any butterflies they may have had prior to the game quickly went away and we played a control game. Our girls played a great team game and it paid dividends against the talented older team.”

Saturday morning started with a match against the Creston U16 side. Building on the strength of the team play the night before, the U14 Selects dominated the play for the entire game with impressive ball control. A strong Creston keeper kept the game tied and in the end the U14s had to settle for a 0-0 outcome.

On Saturday evening, the U14s faced their most physically difficult test with a contest against much older and bigger U16 Columbia Valley team. The game got off to a great start five minutes in when Surina crossed to striker Mattea Lorenzo Langevin at the top of the 18-yard box who made a nice move around the Columbia defender and scored the first goal.

Though the Nelson side dominated play early, a hand ball in the 18-yard box lead to a free kick by Columbia Valley who tied the score at ones. As the half was drawing to a close, Columbia Valley got the advantage when they scored on a partial breakaway.

The second half saw the U14 Selects control the play, but scoring chances were rare. A final flurry late in the half produced the best opportunity to even the score, but bad luck kept the ball out of the opposition goal and produced a 2-1 loss.

“We could have won both of those games and the results certainly were not because of lack of effort,” said Burkart. “By controlling the ball we were able to nullify the size difference in both of the games; we simply had a hard time putting the ball in our opponents’ goal.”

In the girl’s final game of the tournament on Sunday they took on the Kootenay East U15 team. In an exciting first half, both teams played hard but neither side could find the back of the net.

Five minutes into the second half, Quinn came up with the biggest play of the game to that point when she stopped a drive by the East Kootenay’s speedy striker. The save provided extra push to the Nelson side and with 10 minutes left in the game a great passing by the U14s ended when Sofia Arcuri put it away with a low shot to provide the first goal of the game.

With three minutes left in the second half, Lorenzo Langevin was hauled down just outside the 18-yard box and the official made the call for a free kick. Arcuri made no mistake, putting the ball past the Kootenay East wall and keeper for her second of the game. As they had all weekend long, the Nelson defence shut down any chance for a comeback and the final result was a 2-0 win.

“Our team speed and strong defence really shone through all weekend,” said Burkart.

“This team has been improving all season long and this was by far the best we played as a team. The girls are starting to realize just how important tenacity, ball control and pressure are to success.

“I’m very proud of our effort. A weekend with a record of two wins, a tie and a single loss is a good tournament, but when you can do it playing in a division with girls that are up to two years older, it is a fantastic result.”

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