The Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO) boys’ soccer team captured the silver medal at the Pemberton Secondary School Red Devils Invitational Tournament this past weekend.
The PSO Eagles advanced to their first tournament final in several years and came very close to winning it all. The five-team event featured PSO, Hope Secondary, Mount Currie, Merritt Secondary and hosts PSS.
“Pemberton has a stacked team this year and soundly beat everyone in their four round-robin games. I think they expected to hammer us in the final but we executed our game plan perfectly and a tiny bit of bad luck prevented us from likely winning the game,” said Eagles coach Sean Glanville.
In Saturday’s final PSS stayed strong and tidy defensively and hoped to use a counter-attacking strategy. It paid off late in the first half when the ball was sent through and Morris Bob was taken down in the penalty area. Florian Holzapfel stepped up and buried the ensuing kick to put the Eagles up 1-0 at halftime.
Unfortunately, midway through the second half PSS would equalize. PSO defender Mohommed Oher was running step for step with the PSS forward just inside the penalty area when his hand inadvertently swung up and hit the attacker in the face.
“I thought in that situation the player could have played through it but he stopped and grabbed his face and the referee was in a tough spot and called the penalty shot,” said Glanville. “Everything was going perfect up to that point and I knew that would be the moment that swung the game in their favour.”
PSS would then score the penalty to tie the game 1-1 and then nabbed the winner from a scramble off a corner kick late in the game to earn a 2-1 victory.
PSS coach Phill Read was very complimentary of PSO and mentioned during the award ceremony and what a great, intense final game it was and how we had his team really worried.
Max Holzapfel was named Player of the Game for PSO.
“Max was outstanding in his central defence role. He won everything in the air and snuffed out any through balls with his speed. I’ve been harassing him since Grade 8 to play soccer and finally in his Grade 12 year he signed up,” said Glanville.
Another key to the Eagles’ success was Devon Higginbottom who volunteered to play goalie despite having no experience.
“We seem to never have a goalkeeper so I asked Devon and he played incredible. He made some great saves and I thought he was the best keeper in the tournament,” said Glanville. “In six years at PSO, it was the first time I ever felt totally confident with our goalkeeper situation.”
In the round-robin portion, PSO opened the tournament Friday morning with a 5-1 win over Hope. Stephen Theodore Jensen, Devon Higginbottom, Yuvraj Chhina, Max Holzapfel and Leandro Lang all scored for PSO. In game two, PSO downed Mount Currie 2-0 on goals from John Jordaan and Mason Pincott. PSO forward Ben Holleywell suffered a broken wrist in the contest which left PSO down to just one sub the rest of the tournament.
PSO dropped a 3-0 decision to PSS in game three late Friday. In their final round-robin game Saturday morning they downed Merritt 2-0 on a goal each from brothers Max and Florian Holzapfel. The highlight of the Merritt game was Max launching a goal from the centerline over the keepers head much to everyone’s disbelief.
Eagles captain Ryan Vincenz played a pivotal role as a defensive midfielder and Josh Hutchins played solid at outside fullback.
“For all 13 players this was the best I’ve ever seen them play; we didn’t have one player that didn’t exceed my expectations,” said Glanville.
The Eagles have two more tournaments lined up including Hope Secondary October 4-5 and Merritt Secondary October 18-19.
“This is new territory for us and we are actually heading to these tournaments planning to win them and not just be a participant anymore,” said Glanville.