Abs Croda of the Vernon Coedic Anomalies, left, takes on Matt McGregor of the Abbotsford Eagles in the Vernon Co-Ed Soccer Tournament Saturday at Marshall Field. (Lisa Mazurek/Morning Star)

Gracia goes big on birthday

North Okanagan Soccer League first-round playoffs

With the air quality level hovering around nine and Interior Health urging people to stay indoors, Okanagan Geothermal Ltd. (OKG) instead braved the smoke and torched Turn-Key Controls 8-4 in North Okanagan Soccer League playoff action Wednesday night at MacDonald Park.

Midfielder Rafael Disterhoft, who manned the centre of the park and the flank at different points of the first-round match, pulled the hat trick for the defending playoff champions (formerly Monashee Surveying FC).

Ivan Gracia celebrated his 37th birthday with a deuce for third-place OKG, earning the Burger King Man of the Match. It was Gracia’s second game back from Injured Reserve after he broke an ankle early in the season.

Sham Kafil, Zac Kronbauer and Scott Coulthard supplied singles for OKG, who meet second-place Auto Quest Wednesday night in semifinal play in Salmon Arm.

“They came out hard and were able to get four in the first half, leaving us with an uphill climb,” said Nathan Tucker of last-place Turn-Key. “We were able to get two quick ones to make it 4-2 with Mitch Wallace and John Moesker finding the goal.”

OKG went ahead 5-2 but Turn-Key responded with a Kent Vanvliet corner to Nathan Tucker minutes later before the sides swapped snipes, leaving the Controllers down by two.

Brent Wileman wagged some room and converted the fourth Turn-Key goal before OKG produced a pair with Turn-Key pressing in the final 10 minutes.

The Shuswap Outlaws advanced to the other semifinal by dispatching Peters Tirecraft of Vernon 2-0 at the Salmon Arm Savings & Credit Union Sports Centre.

“Man of the Match was Justin Mitchell who was a beast on the back line,” said Rob Spraggs of Tirecraft.

The stakes were high as neither team had ever won a playoff round before. The Outlaws struck early on a cross to the back post. Tirecraft pushed hard and kept the pressure on all game, but were not able to capitalize on any of their chances.

The forward push by Tirecraft left the defence thin, but they were able to keep the Outlaws’ counter-attack in check until a momentary lapse of concentration left an Outlaws forward open and he capitalized for a security goal with 20 minutes left.

Travis Beck went the distance in net for Tirecraft, who placed fifth just behind the Outlaws, who tackle league champion North Enderby Timber in semifinal action Wednesday, 6:30 p.m., at MacDonald Park. The Gibson Cup goes Saturday, Aug. 25, 6 p.m., at Mac Park.

Meanwhile, a total of 10 teams had a blast in the annual Vernon Co-Ed Soccer Tournament last weekend at Marshall Field.

Bucknasty FC of Penticton topped the five-team High Rec Pool with North Enderby Timber placing runner-up.

NET needed Bucknasty FC to lose or tie to Net Six and Chill of Calgary in their last game in order to secure first place but Bucknasty FC tripped up Net Six and Chill 3-1.

Drunken Disorderly of Port Coquitlam and Meme Team of Delta played each other in their last Low Rec Division game which was a battle for first. Drunken Disorderly needed to come out with a win to secure first but ultimately lost to the Meme Team 1-0.

The Kelowna Celtic and the Grasshoppers FC of Calgary rounded out the High Rec category, while the Salmon Arm Ball Handlers, Abbotsford Eagles and Coedic Anomalies of Vernon filled up the Low Rec side.

Said tourney director Ashley Krause: “We would like to thank the following companies for their support and donations to the tournament: VantageOne Credit Union for donating tents, Mike the Tent Guys for setting up and taking down the tents and Monaghan Engineering and Consulting Ltd. for supplying larger posters for the schedule and scoring sheet.”

Dr. Lee Dental pads North Okanagan Women’s Soccer lead


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