The Yukon Strikers S.C. teams were busy over the weekend – busy winning medals.
Three teams from the Yukon’s representative soccer club competed in two tournaments in B.C. and each won hardware to close out the outdoor season.
The U12 and U18 girls squads were in North Vancouver for the Thanksgiving Tournament hosted by the North Shore Girls Soccer Club, while the Strikers U12 boys competed at the Richmond Youth Soccer Thanksgiving Tournament.
U12 girls strike gold
The Strikers U12 girls were feeling the pressure in North Vancouver over the weekend.
Playing for gold in the final against the North Shore Spurs, the match was tied 0-0 after 80 minutes of play – two 30-minute halfs followed by two 10-minute overtimes – eventually ending in a shootout.
The Strikers put four past the Spurs goalkeeper for the gold.
“It was probably the most intense game they’ve ever played as a group or as individuals,” said Strikers head coach Tony Gaw. “I don’t think they will have, up to this age, played a game that was such a hard-fought battle.
“They had never been in anything so intense before. It was tough, there’s no doubt about it. It was a very good experience for them.”
Finding the back of the Spurs’ net were Bryn Peterson, Sam Ng, Georgia Gaw and Jewel Davies.
In net for the Strikers – letting only two in during the shootout – was goalkeeper Grace Ann Janssen.
“She was really good,” said Tony.
The two teams were so evenly matched they ended in a 3-3 tie during the round-robin portion of the tournament. In that contest Davies, Janssen and Jayden Demchuk were the Yukon scorers.
The final was not the only shutout for the Strikers. Yukon opened the tournament blanking North Shore Strikers 2-0 and the Coquitlam Metro 4-0.
Yukon went over North Shore with goals from Davies and Demchuk, while Jannsen and Alice Frost Hanberg shared the shutout.
Scoring against Metro were Georgia Gaw, Tyra Jones and Demchuk with two.
Even before the tournament the Strikers were leaving the competition scoreless. In a pre-tournament exhibition match, the Strikers defeated Langley 5-0.
“It was a lot of fun, the weather was just perfect and the girls played really well,” said Tony.
U12 boys take silver
The Strikers U12 boys fought their way to a silver medal in the U13 bronze division in Richmond.
After posting two wins and a tie, the Strikers ended the round-robin tourney with a 4-1 loss to the gold-winning Richmond Marlins on Sunday.
“The last game of the tournament was a tough one,” said Strikers head coach Paul Kishchuk. “They had a very strong team and one very strong player in particular that they would feed the ball to. He was a very fast young man and a very accurate striker. I think he scored three of their goals.
“(We had) stellar defensive effort by Max Zaparinuk, Cody Amaral, Darcy LaRochelle and Dawson Weir.”
The Strikers’ loss came shortly after a one-sided win, dousing the Norther Delta Fireballs 7-0. Scoring for Yukon were Seth Carey, Evyn Dinn, Ethan Gaw plus Felix Maltais and Dawson Weir each with two.
Getting the shutout for the Strikers was Karl Knickle in net.
“It was a great team effort all around,” said Kishchuk. “The scoring was spread out among quite a few players. It was a relatively inexperienced team going down this time. There were some boys who have played Outside a few times, but there were four boys out of the 14 that we took that had never been Outside for a tournament and they all did really well.”
The Strikers also tied the Richmond Hornets 1-1, with a goal from Gaw, and opened the tournament with a 4-1 win over the Richmond Barcelona. Against Barcelona Dinn scored and Simon Kishchuk had a hat trick.
U18 girls go on shutout spree
It took four matches for a team to get a goal against the Strikers U18 girls in North Vancouver.
Unfortunately for the Strikers, that fourth match was for the gold and they lost 6-1 to Williams Lake.
“It was a great year-end tournament for us before we head indoors,” said Strikers head coach Charly Kelly. “It’s our prep-work towards the Canada Games, which will be coming up next year.”
On their way to silver the Strikers blanked the North Shore Blue Thunder 2-0, Whistler 1-0, and the Surrey Delta Eagles 7-0.
In net for all three was goalkeeper Samantha Burgess. But it takes more than a great goalie to get three consecutive shutouts, said Kelly.
“We have such a strong defensive line that we can always hold where we are,” said Kelly. “For the shutouts I’d say the defenders got half of the shots. And it was the defence that saved a lot of the potential goals. You can’t get three shutouts without a strong defence.
“Jaylene Kelly and Megan Lanigan played holding mid they really controlled the game from the centre and that’s what we needed.
“Centre back was Emily Wilson and Morgan Paul. They were my centre defenders, and you have the holding mids right in front of them, and it was a strong centre group for sure.”
Galloway led the team in scoring with five goals, including the game-winner over Whistler. Lanigan had three, including the one in the final. Also scoring were Stephanie Avery, Emily Wilson and Carolyn Miller.
In net for the final was Anna Janowicz.
“She played an awesome game after following Samantha,” said Charly.
Strikers winless at nationals
As reported earlier this week, there were two Yukon Strikers teams at the National Soccer Club Championships in Vaughan, Ontario, ending on Monday.
The Strikers U-14 boys and U-14 girls teams went winless at the championship, placing 12th out of 12 teams, but both had tight battles.
The Strikers girls tied Saskatchewan 0-0 and New Brunswick 1-1, and also lost 1-0 to P.I.E.‘s West Prince Storm.
“Overall, we’re really happy with the performance,” said Strikers head coach Doug Harris. “We had a great tournament.”
The Strikers boys team was given the Fair Play Award for their sportsmanship at the championships.
“That’s a reflection on the fact that we were really were a fair-spirited team,” said head coach Ed van Randen. “That really does reflect this team actually … They are very positive to each other and the other team. They really deserved that award.”
The Yukon boys had their closest matches over the weekend, losing 3-0 to Halifax City on Saturday and 2-1 to Newfoundland’s Mount Pearl on Sunday.
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