More than half of Yukon soccer players scored hardware at the 2016 Arctic Winter Games last week in Nuuk, Greenland.
Three of Yukon’s five teams won a medal in futsal – a form of indoor soccer played on hardwood floors and without walls to keep the ball in play.
Yukon’s intermediate female had the greatest success with a silver medal.
“I’m extremely proud of how my girls performed,” said coach Sarah Hanson in an email to the News. “All of the games were very competitive and they played very strategically in each one. I feel like as a team we gave everything we had to give from the first game to the final.”
Yukon took silver with a tight 1-0 loss to Team Sapmi in the final on Friday. Sapmi went undefeated in the tournament with six straight wins for gold.
“My highlight was our gold medal game. Once we all went onto the field and lined up they called everyone’s name out and only then did it sink in that we were going for gold,” said Yukon player Line Jensen.
“I felt pretty good about AWG. Our team played really well together and everyone worked their hardest,” she added.
“The highlight for me was seeing my girls smiling after losing a tight game in the final,” said Hanson. “I’m very happy that they are coming away from this week feeling proud of how they performed. They deserve to be proud of what they accomplished. Sapmi was a dominant team throughout the tournament but they had great, close games with us both times we played. Every game we played was a challenge in different ways and they adjusted and came together as a team for each one.”
Yukon reached the final with a 3-1 win over N.W.T. Thursday. Mikaela Ponsioen, her team’s top scorer in Nuuk, scored twice in the match and Thea Carey also scored.
Ponsioen finished second for scoring in the tournament with eight goals. Carey had four while Malorie Hanson, Jamie Joe-Hudson and Jamie McLeish each had one.
“Mikaela Ponsioen scored the most goals for us and did a great job for us up front,” said Sarah. “Our goalie Isabel Magsucang, although new to futsal, really came through for us, especially in the final.”
Yukon also claimed bronze in the junior male and juvenile male divisions, both with shutout wins over N.W.T.
Yukon’s junior male team took bronze with a 5-0 win over N.W.T. Ewan Halliday was the team’s top scorer with four goals in the tournament. Teammates Felix Maltais, Tyler Milton and Dawson Weir each had three.
The juvenile male squad downed N.W.T. 2-0 for their bronze. Ben Kishchuk, who led the team with six goals in Nuuk, got the game-winner in the bronze game. Teammates Joseph Hanson and Andreas Lavanderos both registered four goals at the Games.
Yukon’s junior and juvenile female squads both made it to the bronze matches.
The junior team lost 5-1 to N.W.T. in the bronze match to place fourth out of six teams.
“I’m very proud of how our girls performed. It’s the first proper futsal tournament we’ve played in, as futsal is an up and coming game in Canada,” said coach Ashley Beggs. “The girls learned and adapted quickly to the tournament rules and officiating. We finished second of six teams in preliminary matches – a result of preparedness and focus.”
Lara Herry-Saint Onge scored her fourth of the tournament to put Yukon on the board in the bronze match. Bryn Halena Peterson led the team with five goals in Nuuk.
“Our goalkeeper, Reena Coyne, deserves credit,” added Beggs. “She exceeded my expectations and was invaluable on and off the pitch.”
Yukon’s juvenile female team placed fourth with a 3-0 loss to Team Alberta North in the bronze match. Cassidy Cairns, Abby Rich and Kamryn Williamson each logged two goals at the tournament.
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