The 100 Mile House U14 Boy’s Rep team came home with some silverware after the Gold Pan Indoor Soccer Tournament in Quesnel over the weekend.
It was the first time the team has competed in the tournament, debuting with great form to reach the final and a second place finish.
“It was an excellent tournament in Quesnel’s indoor facility, very well run,” said Steven Keller, one of the team’s coaches. “We’re very proud of the kids and what they brought to this. It’s great to see that 100 Mile can not only compete, but also excel against larger centres.”
The team’s opening game was against the U14 Williams Lake team. Ashton Chretien and Israel McLelland both took a turn goaltending for a clean sheet, allowing the team to win 4-0. Matthew Keller (2), Lee Koch and Nelson Swann scored the goals.
The second game was a little tougher. 100 Mile House scraped by the U13 Fort St. John with a hat trick from Colin Birtwistle. The final score was 3-2.
“Their ball movement was superb and their very large bench was a significant challenge for our team,” said Keller of their opponent.
In the third game, Birtwistle added another goal to his tally for a 4-1 victory against the home team. Matthew, Koch and Swann also scored in this game.
The three wins allowed the team to play the Fort St. John team again. Keller said the team were pumped to make the final and it was great to see the players’ hard work pay off.
He added the players have been practising twice a week all winter, with sessions run by coaches Mathias Koch and Irene Meili.
However, the 100 Mile team fell to Fort St. John in a penalty shootout.
“It was a tough loss in the final,” recalled Keller.
McLelland made several saves to maintain the draw. His teammates also maintained an aggressive offensive until the end, but never managed to capitalize on their efforts, according to Keller. The penalty shootout ended up going to the more northerly side’s favour, 1-0.
“The players were disappointed, but very proud of their performance. What most impressed me was the sheer level of effort, their willingness to play in every position and how they supported each other,” said Keller.
“It was a small team of eight players. They were all key performers, but the consistently strong defence of Ashton Chretien and Megan Holyk was much appreciated … As coaches, we were impressed with our players’ resilience, emotional and physical toughness, and by how their skills have improved over the winter.”
Birtwistle was the team MVP for the tournament.
The team will be starting their outdoor season next week, facing teams in the Cariboo. They are also lining up for some potential tournaments in Williams Lake, Salmon Arm and other areas.