While the Yukon Strikers U-14 boys had an easy time defeating NWT at the National Championships on Monday, the Yukon Selects S.C. men’s soccer team was fighting for a win against their territorial rivals.
Competing for the Challenge Trophy, Soccer Canada’s national club championships, the Selects pushed NWT’s Yellowknife F.C. into last place with a 3-2 win on Monday in Brossard, Quebec. The Selects finished 11th.
“The last four nationals we’ve always won a game, but this was the first nationals where we were capable of winning most of our games,” said Selects midfielder and defenceman Jake Hanson. “The score-lines were pretty close, but what we feel we lacked was the game-experience and game-play leading up, which resulted in missed opportunities and critical mistakes.
“For the most part, we were a team capable of coming away with more wins, but we felt good that the team is at the standard of the club teams from the provinces.”
In their win over Yellowknife, the Selects took a 2-0 lead with goals from Stephen Dynes and Kurtis Hills. After falling into a tie on a Yellowknife penalty-kick in the second half, Selects’ Donny Richardson got the game-winner, knocking in a ball pinballing around the front of the NWT net.
“I think it hit a couple of bodies on the way in – it was definitely redirected past the goalie,” said Hanson.
For Hills, one of the youngest selects at 17, scoring was great. Leading the team with two goals, scoring in his team’s 3-1 loss to Manitoba’s Winnipeg Juventus on Sunday, was definitely a bonus.
“I scored a header in that game, so I was pretty happy with that,” said Hills after Monday’s match. “I thought I played pretty consistent. I really wanted to score, that was one of my goals, so to come away with two is great.”
The Selects opened the championships with a 2-1 loss to Nova Scotia on Wednesday before a 4-0 loss to Quebec’s Mont Royal Outremont the following day.
Getting Yukon’s goal against Nova Scotia was Kyle Risby, heading in a cross-field pass from Harrison Kwok.
The Selects, who also lost 1-0 to New Brunswick on Saturday, had the narrowest gap between goals for and against at the nationals, compared to the three Yukon junior teams that also competed at the National Championships last week and over the weekend. (See story on page 31.)
“It was a really good tournament, we played really well,” said Hills. “We had a couple unlucky games where we lost by one or two; a couple unlucky bounces put out of a couple games.”
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