The Salmon Arm Secondary Junior Girls soccer team’s season is off to an excellent start following a 10-0 victory against Kalamalka Secondary.
SAS Junior Girls coach Tricia Martin, said the team is comprised of experienced players, with 16 of the 18 having played on select teams.
Being virtually the only high school for players from the local select team to attend gives the SAS team an advantage over the schools in Vernon.
“We definitely reap the rewards of that, being the only school that these kids that are on the select team go to except Kings Christian,” she said
Martin said her team didn’t want to run up the score, but focused on shooting when opportunities presented themselves.
The score was 4-0 at halftime.
Jordyn Turner scored four goals for Salmon Arm and Roxanne Van Rooyen scored two. Other goals came from Kate Milne, Lauren Rollier, Rachel Bates and Megan Hart.
Going forward, the junior girls team is one of five teams in their league. The other four teams the girls will face in regular season are from Vernon. In years gone by, teams from Revelstoke and Lumby have also played in the league, but there are none this year.
Martin said the number of school girls’ soccer games has decreased in recent years because the season runs at the same time as the rep-soccer season and many players play both. The SAS junior girls season is short, with only four league games before playoffs. They will host only one regular season game, on April 26, and playoff games if they finish among the top two teams in the league.
If they succeed in their league playoffs, the SAS team will move on to the Okanagan to face teams from Kamloops as well as Vernon.
Teams from the central and south zones of the Okanagan pull their juniors up to play on their senior team and so do not participate in the junior Okanagan tournament.
There are no provincials for junior girls soccer as many senior girls teams around the province are Grades 8 to 12.
Martin says she is confident in the composition of this year’s team.
There are seven girls returning to the team after having played on the junior team last year. The team is made up of eight Grade 10’s, nine Grade 9’s and one Grade 8 student from Shuswap Middle School.
Martin said it is preferable to have a split between Grade 9 and 10 players, so the team doesn’t need to be rebuilt every other year
Practices and tryouts for the team have been difficult to organize due to the state of the fields.
The junior and senior girls soccer teams practice on the Sullivan campus field, but they were not allowed to wear cleats until last week.
“They were trying out in their running shoes,” Martin said.
The team was picked last Monday and didn’t get to practice as a team before first game.
Martin said although they didn’t get a chance to practice together, conditioning was not a problem for the team.
“It’s a really strong group of players, but also what I like is pretty much all of them are multi-sport athletes,” Martin said. “When they come to you for soccer, they’re fit.”
As the season is so short, Martin said good fitness from the start will be an important factor for improving the team’s chances for success.