The Yukon Strikers have bounce.
After both Strikers teams suffered blowouts in their opening matches at the 2013 National Club Championships this week, both teams bounced back and showed their pluck in the follow-ups Thursday at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta.
Two Yukon Strikers soccer teams – one boys, one girls – are going for the U14 Cup. Both Yukon squads had close matches on Thursday.
“Today, game experience is what it really came down to,” said boys coach John MacPhail. “We don’t often get in those positions where we’re playing tournaments at 2-2 and don’t know how to deal with it.”
The Strikers’ boys team lost 4-2 to the Eastern Eagles SC from P.E.I. on Thursday after ending the first half tied 2-2.
Yukon striker Morgan Ramsay and centre-mid RJ Smallwood each found the back of the net.
The Strikers hit a crossbar and a post in the second half.
“They scored in what we thought was an off-side, but I guess the refs said it wasn’t,” said MacPhail of P.E.I.‘s game-winner.
Yukon’s boys squad lost 18-0 to Alberta’s Foothills club on Wednesday.
“We put it behind us,” said MacPhail. “We have one of those every time we come to one of these, when we meet the powerhouses. You just get through them and wait for the next game.
“The big four seem to clobber everybody else.”
The Strikers girls need to be faster out the gate, said coach Tony Gaw.
“We just have to look at getting faster starts,” said Gaw. “We aren’t necessarily over-matched. Because of our lack of competition – in Whitehorse we don’t get to play games – it’s really hard to get the girls fired up.
“We’re trying to get off to a good start.”
Yukon lost 13-0 to open the championship against second-seed Nova Scotia on Wednesday.
The team rebounded with a much closer 4-1 loss to the Aurora Concordes of Saskatchewan on Thursday. The Saskatchewan squad went up 3-1 by half before the Yukon Strikers found their footing.
“Today they played a lot better. The second half was 1-1,” said Gaw. “The second half we played really well – they got one and we got one. We have to look at it as a positive.”
Scoring for Yukon was striker Tyra Jones, assisted by midfielder Jewel Davies.
Both Strikers teams have Friday off, but will return to the pitch for matches on Saturday. At press time the Strikers’ opponents for Saturday were not yet determined.
“The girls are having a great time,” said Gaw. “It’s a little rainy today, but the weather has been really warm with very little wind, which is surprising for Lethbridge. We couldn’t ask for any better weather, truthfully.”
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