Williams Lake soccer teams and players made their marks during the weekend at their respective ‘B’ Cup provincial championships.
The Williams Lake FC sent girls’ under-18 and under-15 teams to the provincials in Burnaby, while two players, who suited up for Quesnel’s under-16 team due to not having a team in Williams Lake, also attended to achieve exceptional results.
On the boys’ side it was Williams Lake’s under-14 team travelling north to Prince George to compete at the Les Sinnott Provincial Soccer Championships.
Led by coach Daryl Taylor, the Williams Lake U18 girls were handed a tough start in Burnaby where they were greeted with a 3-1 loss at the hands of Kamloops, before dropping a tight 2-0 decision to Comox.
Not to be discouraged, Williams Lake found its game, dominating West Vancouver in a 2-0 shutout victory to leave them third in their pool and battling for fifth and sixth on Sunday where they were pitted against Burnaby.
“It was another game where we carried the play and picked up a 3-1 win to finish fifth,” Taylor said.
“It was extremely positive. The only sad thing was Tiana Brenner, one of our star players, went down with a very serious ankle injury and she was pretty disappointed she would miss the final bus ride home with the girls because this was their final tournament together for the girls who are aging out.”
Fifteen players made up the team, including a player from Salmon Arm and another player from Prince George, Angie Lewington, who notched a hat trick in the final game.
“It was a our last hoorah,” Taylor said. “And a good way to go out. I just think they’re a really special group of girls and I was proud to be a part of it.”
Taylor thanked team manager Jennifer Rowley and the help of Kendra Taylor.
“Those two were so great,” he said. “It took a lot of effort to go to all those tournaments.”
Two Williams Lake players joined forces with Quesnel to make a big impact helping the team to a provincial championship.
Goalkeeper Brityn Hinsche and Brooke Levens helped the Quesnel U16 girls to the title, going undefeated in the tournament in Burnaby July 4-7 to win the cup.
They opened with a 0-0 tie against a strong Salmon Arm team, followed by a 5-0 win over Vancouver United, and then a 7-0 win over the Burnaby Football Club.
In the finals they faced Kelowna United who was also undefeated and earned a 3-1 victory to win the tournament.
Hinsche was virtually unbeatable in goal allowing only one goal in four games while Levens controlled the play in each game playing midfield and fullback.
Both girls proved to be integral pieces of a very talented team who competed well against Metro and Division 1 teams from the coast all season long.
The Williams Lake U15 Girls brought home a fourth-place result from the Provincial ‘B’ Cup in Burnaby after a solid weekend of soccer from the team.
After finishing second in their round robin pool they went on to face the Vancouver Venom in the bronze-medal match Sunday.
Williams Lake opened the scoring early in the first half before Vancouver equalized the contest at the end of the half.
Vancouver then notched their second at the 32-minute mark, and had a chance to put away the win with a penalty shot on a yellow card late in the half, where Williams Lake’s keeper Kendra Parent made an outstanding diving save to keep her club in the contest, however, the game ended in a 2-1 win for Vancouver.
For several players on the team it was their first time attending a provincial championship, while several players were competing in their third provincials in three years.
In earlier tournament play Williams Lake fell 2-0 to North Shore, defeated Kamloops 2-1, tied Bays United of Victoria 1-1, before the bronze-medal game against the Venom.
Coach Nara Riplinger said manager Kelvin Parent did a great job keeping the team fed and organized for five days, and noted this was the best finish the girls have had in the last three years.
“They keep improving, working hard and encouraging each other,” Riplinger said.
Riplinger and fellow coach Grant Gustafson were impressed with the dedication and development of the team and look ahead to even better provincial results in the coming years.
“We are competing against teams who practice and compete 10 months of the year, while our season is only four months,” Riplinger said.
“We have many talented multi-sport athletes on the team but their commitment during soccer season is admirable.”
The Williams Lake FC U14 boys were in tough at the Les Sinnott Provincial Soccer Championships in Prince George during the weekend.
The team took 16 players to the tournament where, unfortunately, there were defeated in each of their four games.
The U14 boys did, however, make an impression on their fellow competitors earning themselves the fair play award at the tournament.