The gold medal match in the Thompson Okanagan Youth Soccer League U18 girls division was a nail biting, hair pulling, and screaming production that saw Shuswap FC defeat Penticton’s Pinnacles FC 2-1, last Sunday in Kamloops.
In order to make it to the playdowns, the girls select team won their final game of the regular season, which caused a log jam, three-way tie for first at the top of the league table.
Shuswap’s run to the playdowns continued in a semi-final match up last Thursday in Vernon.
Elena Bruns got things rolling for Shuswap, scoring the first goal of the match after spotting a loose ball in the box and placing it in the corner of the net.
Shortly after, Vernon turned the play in their favour, scoring off a scrambled corner kick to knot the game at one a piece.
It was an end-to-end affair with both clubs trading their fair share of quality scoring chances.
It was a long battle in net for Shuswap’s fourth goalie of the season, Kairo Mair, as she made several stellar saves to give her club a fighting chance.
Eventually, with time winding down Shuswap broke the deadlock. Rebecca Macdonald skillfully weaved through several Vernon defenders, dribbling down the left flank before coolly slotting home the eventual match winner just past the far post.
Macdonald’s goal clinched a spot in Sunday’s final, against Pinnacles FC, who defeated Kamloops 4-1 in the other semi-final match.
Just as they did in the semi-final, Shuswap opened up the scoring in the match.
Libby Olsen’s powerful long range effort was no match for the outstretched hands of the Penticton keeper, as the shot screamed into the top right corner.
Not too long after taking the 1-0 lead, Pinnacles FC headed home a crossed ball off of a free kick.
Just before the half-time whistle, Shuswap was called for a hand ball in the box, resulting in a penalty kick for the side from Penticton. In an odd decision, Pinnacles FC called upon their goalkeeper to attempt the spot kick. Mair stood tall and guessed correctly, making the save.
Mayhem ensued as Shuswap quickly tried to take advantage of an empty Penticton net, as the Pinnacles keeper desperately scrambled back to her net.
Shuswap was unable to take advantage of the empty net and the first half ended 1-1.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, Shuswap received a free kick about 25 yards out.
MacDonald struck a lobbed shot over the wall and beat the keeper, giving Shuswap a 2-1 lead with 30 minutes to play.
The next half hour saw the central defense pair of Brianna Stale and Jocelyn Friesen shut down the Pinnacles attacks.
With time running out, Penticton received an indirect kick, six yards from the goal line.
Mair stood her ground and fearlessly dove towards the kicker, the ball hit her so hard it ricochetted off and out past the 18-yard box. The final whistle blew and Shuswap FC had won the TOYSL U18 gold medal.
The girls also qualified for the 2015 BC Soccer Provincial Championships in Penticton, July 9-12.