When winning Silver feels like Gold
A silver medal won at the Little Bear Youth Soccer tournament last weekend in Revelstoke sure seemed like gold a Nelson Select U15 girl’s squad.
Not only did the team — which dropped a 2-1 decision in the final to Calgary Blizzard — overcome sickness to some key players and the fatigue factor of playing in blistering heat, but also the hurdle of playing against older competition.
“In my six years of coaching rep soccer and I have never seen a more gutsy performance than I did in this game,” said head coach Paul Burkart after the Selects played a against a very strong Calgary Azzurri team to a scoreless tie during round robin action.
The “gutsy performance” was one of many highlights of the weekend.
Nelson opened the tournament with a 9-0 shellacking of Revelstoke.
The Nelson strikers proved too much for the host squad scoring nine goals in the first half of the game and coming away with a 9-0 win.
“The girls produced a lot of scoring opportunities and took advantage with some great finishing,” said Burkart.
Shianne Michalchuk led the scoring with four goals, Mattea Lorenzo-Langevin and Shaen Panko-Dool each picked up two goals and Abby Beauchamp added a single marker.
Nelson then met Calgary Azzurri in that amazing contest for the Heritage City squad.
Burkart said Calgary dominated much of the play in the middle and offensive thirds of the pitch.
However, Azzurri could not score against a very strong defensive performance by Nelson, playing with only one substitute.
The result left Selects and Calgary Azzurri tied for points after round robin play.
As a result, a shootout was required to determine which team went on to the gold medal game and which team would play for the bronze.
After losing the coin toss, Nelson was first to shoot with Jodi Surina’s strong shot being stopped by the Calgary keeper.
Calgary’s first shooter missed the net to keep the tally even.
The final four Nelson shooters, Shianne Michalchuk, Grace Dehnel, Emily Taylor and Abby Beauchamp, and the next three Calgary shooters all scored leaving the final Calgary player to shoot.
Keeper Hanna Quinn turned away the final shot earning the Nelson squad a trip to the gold medal game against a second Calgary team, the Blizzard.
In the final, Calgary Blizzard took a 1-0 lead after the first half.
After the half time break, Nelson was awarded a corner kick and midfielder Emily Taylor lofted a beautiful kick through the penalty area on to the foot of striker Shaen Panko-Dool whose well-timed volley beat the Calgary keeper and evened the score.
The score remained tied until the final minutes when Calgary scored the winner.
Despite losing in the final, Nelson still concluded the tournament with the well-deserved silver that felt like gold.
Although both teams had a number of scoring opportunities in the final quarter of the game, it was not until the final eight minutes of the game before a Calgary striker was able to get past the Nelson defence and beat an outstretched Nelson keeper.
The game ended in a 2-1 win for the Blizzard leaving the Nelson girls to collect a well-deserved silver medal.
The Select conclude the Rep Season this weekend playing at a tournament in Castlegar hosted by Kootenay South.