Each and every player on the roster contributed as the Shuswap FC U14/15 team finished fourth in the province at a thrilling provincial tournament.
After finishing the regular season in fourth place behind Kamloops, Kelowna and Penticton and then clinching third place in playdowns, the girls played their first game of provincials against division rivals Kamloops.
Shuswap FC came out strong, dominating play for a good portion of the game but the result was a 2-1 loss. Keeper Julia Hart played a strong game and Shuswap’s lone goal came from midfielder Phoebe Barnes.
”The hard work from defenders Avery Hansen, Maggie Rodwell, Brooklyn Davidson, Heidi-leigh Boileau and Gillian Simpson kept the Kamloops team at bay, giving their team the drive and determination to never give up and push right to the final whistle,” said Shuswap FC coach Tracey Johnson.
The Shuswap team’s second game of the tournament was on Friday against Coquitlam.
The girls battled back and forth coming up with a 3-2 win with goals from striker Braidy Parkes, Jessica Roodzant and Barnes.
“The fast turf field was a challenge for the players, however wingers Lys Milne, Gabriella Torrie, Maria Ruiz-White and Sophia Ruckle were quick to accommodate and effortless in moving the ball up the field creating numerous scoring opportunities,” Johnson said.
The Shuswap team came up against a very talented Vancouver United team in the bronze medal qualifying match.
“Sheer determination put Shuswap up four goals in the first half,” Johnson said.
Shuswap held on for a 4-2 win and punched their ticket to the Bronze Medal game.
Goals against Vancouver United came from Parkes, Sophia Ruckle, Roodzant and the relentless Barnes.
According to Johnson, the efforts of utility players Janae Bocking and Laura Hall, with their ability to move from defence to midfield, were key to the win.
Shuswap FC faced yet another division rival, Kelowna United, in the bronze medal game.
“Kelowna’s strong offensive play and goal-keeping gave them the 4-1 victory over Shuswap,” Johnson said.
The speedy Esita Qiodravu offered the lone goal for Shuswap.
Coaches Carlos Ruiz-White and Tracey Johnson say they could not be prouder of the effort the girls put into the season and this Provincial Cup weekend.
“Each and every player stepped up and contributed to this very successful fourth-place finish,” Johnson said.
“Many thanks from the entire team to Shuswap Youth Soccer Association, the parents and supporters and foremost to manager Marilee Hart for her endless hard work and organization that made the season and provincial experience most memorable for everyone involved,” she said.
Johnson said the fact that Kamloops, Kelowna and Shuswap all finished in the top four of the eight teams shows the level of skilled players and teams in the region.
“Being the smallest community in the Thompson Okanagan Youth Soccer League (TOYSL) makes qualifying an amazing accomplishment. The other awesome thing about this year’s U15 girls team is that the team is made up of over 60 per cent U14 aged girls,” said Shuswap Youth Soccer Association executive director Kevin Harrison.