Morning Star Staff
Vernon United Under 14 boys are stoked for the Thompson Okanagan Rep Soccer League playoffs this weekend in Salmon Arm.
Yogi Kongsdorf’s crew finished the regular season with a confidence-boosting 2-1 victory over the Kamloops Blaze Sunday at MacDonald Park.
United opened the offence at 15 minutes when Perez Vermeulen and Ben Purvis deftly danced the ball past the Blaze back line, allowing Purvis to bury a bullet.
Bryce Turner set up the play 12 minutes later with a cross deep from the right wing to Xander Sladen, who easily converted.
Kamloops responded off a scramble after a corner in the dying seconds of the first half.
United dominated the second half, feeding the ball confidently down the flanks and getting numerous shots from Purvis, Sladen, Turner, Jarrod Latta, Blake Leupin, and Finn Plummer.
Winners of the regional playdowns move to the Provincial B Cup, in Richmond, in early July.
Vernon U13s split their weekend games, stopping the Revelstoke Stallions 3-1 before falling 2-1 to Kelowna United.
Cole Johnson connected on Vernon’s opening shot Saturday versus Revelstoke, who kept United’s defence hopping all half.
Johnson then delivered a free kick which was put in by Lee Christensen, at 30 minutes. Defender Shaun Boucher created a couple of breakaway attempts with some bold play at Mac Park.
Revelstoke applied pressure early in the second half and both teams were feeling the intensity of the heat. The Stallions worked in tight, but were denied by keeper Jared Jameson.
United enjoyed several scoring chances before Christensen added insurance a dozen minutes into the final half. Revelstoke replied soon after.
Kelowna grabbed an early lead Sunday at Beasley Park in Lake Country with a rebound after keeper Noah Podolski made the initial save, at 14 minutes.
Vernon failed to equalize with good pressure and Kelowna scored again in the 23rd minute.
Bryce Tkachuk just missed connecting off a corner by Johnson early in the second half. Podolski moved upfield and knocked in a Johnson corner for Vernon’s goal 10 minutes into the half.
United U15s bowed 2-1 to Kelowna United Sunday at Beasley Park and placed third. The same teams open the playoffs Saturday in Salmon Arm.
Malcolm Wiens scored for United. Mees Geelkerken almost beat the keeper for the equalizer in the dying minutes, but the keeper just got a foot to the ball. James Huntington and Gavin Mason played well as holding mids and Josh Gray and Charis Ondrik were solid on defence.
In U12 boys play, Vernon United #2 had a great showing by ambushing Kamloops White 7-0 and then drawing 1-1 in a friendly versus the visiting Kootenay B.C. Summer Games team Sunday.
Dawson Martian and Keegan Carmichael put the boys up 2-0 early on Kamloops before ‘The Liam and Ben Show’ (Liam Glennon with two, Liam Reid with a single, and goals from Ben Imrich and Ben Lesyk) took control.
“The boys came out strong in the game after a disappointing weekend in Penticton last week and it was a true team effort of incredible ball distribution and finish” said coach John Glennon.
Man of the Match was Ben Lesyk, and Logan Quibel was once again stellar in net to earn the clean sheet.
Against the Kootenays ,Vernon came out a little tentative early on, however Imrich, Man of the Match Carmichael and Reid pressed for chances.
Luke Jones, Kaden Funk, Ben Morgan and Glennon were solid at the back, however the boys were caught on an counter attack to allow the Kootenays a 1-0 lead at half.
In the second half, United came out dictating the pace of play with great high ball pressure and shut down the Kootenay counter. With multiple scoring chances, Vernon tied things up when Glennon was rewarded for his hard work with a deflected shot.
Vernon United #1 faced similar competition, winning 4-1 over a tough Kamloops team before falling 3-1 to the Kootenays.
Isaiah (The Hair) Ondrik went all-world with a great hat trick, with a single supplied by an excellent Man of the match James Meeks.
Kevin Morgan turned back all shots except one breakaway goal and Josh Mckeown and Hayden Catt had strong games shutting down the Kamloops wingers, with Saajan Klair providing good support at numerous different positions.
Vernon completely dominated the opening half versus the Kootenays, only to be down 1-0 on a breakaway goal just before half.
“We were just like Sweden: no Finnish,” deadpanned assistant coach James Cotter.
Man of the Match Ondrik dominated the midfield, and the backline of Aiden Skinner, Jack Cotter and Max Chirkoff was solid. That lack of finish proved costly as the Kootenays gathered steam and scored two more second-half goals, offset only by a beauty from Cotter.
William Oordt-Bosman was solid all day and Nate Paskiewich offered good runs up front.
United U13 girls blanked Kamloops Blaze 5-0 to finish their regular season.
Vernon’s first goal came off a Kamloops’ shirt via a great corner by Mira Szudek, a result of great work along the right side by Jayden Strachan.
Megan Sherwood provided an all-round great midfield effort for the 2-0 goal, assisted by Danica Ariano.
United turned on the heat in the second half with the defence hemming Kamloops in their own end. Carly Southam, Talia Quiring, Gabby Triggs and Makena Kersey snuffed out any chance of a shot on their keeper Hailey Yablonski.
Elena Gaskell scored on a great passing series from Szudek and Kelsey Falk and Vernon’s fourth goal came from Brianna Bobbitt, off a short feed from Paige Noakes.
Kelsey Carriere buried one left corner to complete the offence as United clinched third heading to Penctiton for this weekend’s playdowns.