For the first time ever, a Shuswap FC youth soccer team has been crowned provincial champions.
Three Shuswap FC girl’s teams competed this past weekend at the BC Soccer Provincial Cup in Kamloops. All three made the Shuswap proud with top-five performances, including the U15 girls who soared to the summit.
The road to the title was not an easy one as the U15 girls found themselves down 2-0 in their opening game of the tournament but fought back to tie the game halfway through the second half.
Phoebe Barnes completed the comeback with a blast from outside the penalty area with just over three minutes left to secure the 3-2 win over the Columbia-Kootenay champion Kootenay South team.
An easy 5-0 win Friday over Prince George set up a Saturday showdown with Quesnel, the only other undefeated team in their pool. Based on goal difference, only a win would move the Shuswap girls into Sunday’s final.
Quesnel gave the Shuswap girls all they could handle but once again the Shuswap girls walked away with a 3-2 victory and a berth in Sunday’s final against Vancouver United, the Coastal champions, the only other undefeated team in the division.
The Shuswap girls came out flying in the final and were rewarded for their hard work within the first five minutes when Phoebe Barnes converted a penalty shot. Halfway through the first half Shuswap doubled its lead to two on another Barnes’ blast from well outside the penalty area.
As was the case over all four games, the Shuswap girls then out-hustled, outworked their opponents for the rest of the game. Their swarming team defence was also too much for the skilled Vancouver team, who couldn’t find a way through and fell 2-0 to the Provincial Cup Champion U15 Shuswap FC girls.
The U15 girls were not the only team to make the Shuswap proud, as outstanding top-five performances from the U13 and U17 girls teams completed an unprecedented weekend of success for Shuswap FC teams at the Provincial Cup.
The U17 girls, missing three key players due to injury and prior commitments, played the entire tournament with only two substitutes, a daunting task especially on their Thursday and Sunday games when temperatures soared into the mid-30s.
With only three teams in their pool, the Shuswap U17 girls finished the round robin 1-1, following a heartbreaking 2-1 opening loss to eventual silver medalists Williams Lake and a Friday victory over local rivals from Penticton.
Sunday’s bronze-medal match against Columbia-Kootenay champion Cranbrook was a thriller. After 90 minutes, mostly dominated by our Shuswap girls, the score was deadlocked 1-1 sending the game into 30 minutes of overtime.
Having only two subs didn’t stop the Shuswap girls from pressing for a game-winning goal but missed chances would come back to haunt them. After a scoreless overtime, Cranbrook emerged victorious 5-4 on penalty kicks to capture bronze. Congratulations to the girls on their gritty performance.
The third team competing at the Provincial Cup, the U13 girls, opened the tournament with a heartbreaking 2-1 shootout loss to Kamloops, a game dominated by the Shuswap girls. Following the loss, the girls bounced back in a big way with convincing victories over Prince George and Nechako Lakes.
With the two wins the girls earned a spot in Sunday’s fifth-sixth place game. The Shuswap girls came out flying against the Columbia-Kootenay champion team from Nelson and were rewarded with an early 2-0 lead.
Nelson cut the lead in half but a third goal saw the Shuswap girls take a 3-1 lead into the halftime break. The second half was much the same as Shuswap added a fourth goal and continued to dominate play for their 4-1 victory and a fifth-place finish. A great effort by the entire team.
All Shuswap FC teams will now take a much-deserved break until practice begins for the fifth annual “Shore N Score Cup” tournament on the Aug. 25-26 weekend.