The Yukon’s junior female soccer team has been playing together for about eight years and the resulting cohesiveness came through in the finals in Arctic Winter Games play at the Canada Games Centre on Saturday.
The team came together to beat Greenland 5-1 in the final for the gold. It was one of four ulus won by the Yukon’s five teams at the Games, also winning two silvers and a bronze.
“I’ve been coaching this team since they were eight years old,” said Yukon coach Charly Kelly. “My hope is that this team, along with others, continues on to the Canada Summer Games. And I sure hope I get to coach them there as well.
“They’ve been playing together so long, they know where each other is going so the passes are fluid.”
Thanks to the Yukon’s Camille Galloway, the ball got quite intimate with the back of Greenland’s net. Galloway scored four goals in the final while teammate Megan Lanigan produced the other. Galloway led the tournament division with 14 goals, twice as many as Greenland’s Oline Kristiansen, who was second in the standings.
Lanigan and Brittany Milner were tied for third with five apiece. Yukoners Jay Kelly and Morgan Emily Paul both tied for sixth in the tournament with three each.
“There were a couple of people who stood out in the game and one was Camille, for sure,” said coach Kelly. “She takes the ball from one end to the other end of the field very eloquently. Her shots always seem to find the net, which is perfect.
“Sam Burgis, our goaltender, also played an amazing game. She came out at all the right times and she played a game we needed her to play then as well.
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“We have an amazing, strong defensive line and I think that was, bar none, what we needed for that game.”
Before beating them in the final, the Yukon lost 4-2 to Greenland in its last round-robin game. It was their only loss of the Games.
“(Greenland) plays a little bit of a different system than we do,” said coach Kelly. “The first game we played (against them) we were trying to fit the way they were playing. We were trying to match-up on the field where their players were playing. To be honest, it didn’t work.
“The second time we went out there, we played our game and make them try to change to our game.
“After we got our second goal we thought, ‘This is our game, this is the way we play.’”
The Yukon junior females advanced to the final with a 10-0 shutout over Nunavut. Galloway got a hat trick and Morgan Paul, Brittany Milner and Jaylene Kelly each with a pair of goals. The Yukon’s Emily Wilson also scored.
“We were obviously excited,” said coach Kelly. “It was the first time they played in front of more than five parents.
“It was extremely nerve-racking for them – especially that first game because that was the first time they had every played in front of a larger group.
“(The crowd) got bigger and louder – it was awesome.”
end with silver
After advancing to the final with a 9-4 thumping of Alaska, the Yukon’s juvenile female team settled with silver in a 5-4 loss to Alberta North on Saturday.
Scoring for the Yukon in the gold medal game were Aimee Parker, Mikaela Ponsioen and Sam Wintemute with two.
Finding the back of Alaska’s net in the semifinal was Wintemute with a hat trick while teammates Jamie McLeish and Ponsioen each had two. Anna Janowicz and Hannah Milner both got one.
Milner placed third in the tournament division with nine goals. Wintemute tied for fourth with eight goals.
silver in low-scorer
In the lowest-scoring gold medal match of the Arctic Games, the Yukon’s intermediate female team lost 2-1 to Sapmi in overtime to take the silver.
Scoring the Yukon’s lone goal was Ella Parker with her fifth goal of the tournament.
The Yukon reached the final with a 4-1 semifinal win over Alaska last Friday. In the semi, Parker scored twice, Hana Val once and Jesse Hudson once.
The Yukon’s top scorer in the tournament was Nicole Bendare with seven goals, putting her sixth in the tournament for scoring. Teammate Terri Publicover tied for seventh in the tournament for scoring with six goals.
bronze from Alaska
After losing 4-3 to Greenland in the semifinal, the Yukon junior males defeated Alaska 6-1 for the bronze early Saturday.
Scoring for the Yukon in the bronze game were Marten Sealy, Mike Amirault, Mike Wintemute, Tristan Olynyk, Jono Runions and Andrew Scoffin.
Sealy tied for second for the most goals in the tournament division with nine. Wintemute tied for fourth in the tournament with eight goals.
Juvenile males finish fifth
In the largest soccer division, with six teams, the Yukon’s juvenile males were the only squad from the territory to not reach the playoffs. They finished fifth ahead of Nunavut.
In the round-robin they beat Nunavut 7-2 and had close matches against the three medaling teams, losing 7-5 to Greenland (gold), 4-1 to Alberta North (silver) and 4-3 to N.W.T. (bronze).
Yukon’s Brendan Irish was his team’s top scorer with four goals in the tournament.
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