Having gone undefeated at a tournament in North Vancouver, winning gold, one could say the Yukon Strikers U-12 girls’ team dominated. But “dominated” only tells half the story.
Not only did the Strikers win all four of their games at the North Shore Invitational Soccer Tournament over the weekend in North Vancouver, BC, they did so without allowing a single goal from their opponents. Making the trip all the more extraordinary was the fact the U-12 team was playing up an age group in the U-13 division.
“It was a combination of things,” said Strikers head coach Sarah Hanson. “Our goalies did really well, we have an incredible sweeper and the girls generally kept the ball in the other end as much as possible.”
Taking on the Whistler Strikers in the finals, the Yukon Strikers’ Mikaela Ponsioen scored once in the first half and twice in the second to help give her team a 3-0 victory.
“Mikaela Ponsioen was the high-scorer for our team and she’s just a very dominating player,” said Hanson. “She’s great up front and also plays net for us sometimes.
“Although Avery Bramadat played in net more often and she did wonderful.”
Producing assists in the final were Malore Hansen, Emily Ross and Amy Parker, who was named the game’s MVP along with teammate Teaghan Wilson.
“Amy is all around a good player that works her butt off every game – she had one of her better games in the final,” said Hanson. “Teaghan, throughout the entire tournament, was one of the players that made a difference every game because she’s our sweeper and excels at that position in a major way, and she didn’t allow any dangerous situations to get past her.”
The Strikers opened the tournament with a 3-0 win over Whistler with goals from Abby Hawes and two from Ponsioen.
Facing the North Shore Jaguars in their second game, goals from Hawes and Hansen gave the Strikers a 2-0 win.
With the finals just a win away, the Strikers then downed the North Shore Stars 3-0 with goals from Hansen, Christine Moser and Ponsioen.
The Strikers’ success in North Vancouver is the opposite of their previous tournament experience when the Strikers went winless at the Alaska Airlines Cup in Anchorage in June. However, that experience may have helped the team in the long run, said Hanson.
“In Anchorage, it was a higher level than we played this weekend, but I think that was the catalyst that got the girls realizing what needed to be done to get more competitive,” she said. “So they dedicated themselves to their training all summer and we really jelled as a team, so when we went to compete this weekend they really did well.”
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