The Vernon United U15 boys stopped their winless streak at three games with a weekend sweep in the Thompson Okanagan Rep Soccer League.
United grounded host Shuswap Selects 6-1 Saturday and held off first-place Penticton Pinnacles 4-3 Sunday at Marshall Field #5.
Vernon got goals from five different players at Blackburn Park in Salmon Arm with Joshua Gray converting a Sam Eggert corner at two minutes. Eight minutes later, Owen Burnet fed Mees Geelkerken, who fired home his third goal in league play.
Shey Townley made it 3-0 in the 15th minute, while Malcolm Wiens got back to form slotting home a Townley feed just before the half.
The second half saw Vernon maintaining possession and adding two more goals, one from Wiens and the other by Kevin Thibault from 18 yards. Shuswap scored in the 65th minute.
Gavin Mason and Elias Jensen were solid in controlling the midfield while Connor London and James Huntington moved the ball along the flanks.
“The boys played really well today,” said Vernon co-coach Rolf Hirschkorn. “They moved the ball well and supported each other on the field.”
Wyatt Carter made an impressive return from injury.
Sunday’s performance was certainly more intense as Vernon squeaked out a thrilling win over the Pinnacles.
Expecting Penticton to possess much of the ball, Vernon was surprised at the amount of attacking chances afforded.
Townley was brought down by a late challenge in the 19th minute and the penalty was clinically converted by midfielder Owen Burnet.
Just two minutes later, Wiens doubled the lead after a nice feed from Geelkerken. Things looked well in hand till the dying seconds of the half when Penticton responded.
The second half saw the onset of rain, intensity and three yellow cards. Wiens restored the two-goal cushion three minutes into the half, being sent in by Gray.
The festivities were shortlived as Penticton countered two minutes later and pressed hard to get the equalizer midway through the half.
Wiens had several chances that were all denied by the keeper, including a clear breakaway. At 67 minutes, Wiens was taken down by the keeper and another penalty kick was given. Burnet, who has been money from the spot this year, converted again for the win.
Peter Hirschkorn was his dominant self on the back line and Harvey Pawsey made some key saves in the second half Charis Ondrik was also singled out with solid play as a holding midfielder.
“A great win for the boys”, said United co-coach Erick Burnet. “We’ve managed to be the only team to defeat Penticton this season and the boys are buying into the system of play.”
Vernon’s next league game is against Kamloops Blue on Sunday at Marshall #4 at noon.
U13s stop Shuswap
In U13 boys action, Vernon shut down Shuswap 2-0 Sunday at Marshall #5.
At 10 minutes, Cole Johnson passed to Nicholas Purvis who came up from the right side and buried Vernon’s opening goal.
United held the majority of play and kept pressing for offence with Noah Poldolski connecting 11 minutes into the final half off gorgerous passes by Cole Johnson and Purvis.
Defender Shaun Boucher made some gorgeous moves to stop a couple of Shuswap breakaways, while Lee Christensen delivered several fabulous through balls.
U14s take Kelowna to limit
United U14 boys fell 3-2 to Kelowna United Sunday at Marshall #5.
Vernon enjoyed a very positive opening as they nimbly controlled the play with crisp passing.
Roadrunner Ben Purvis spied the Kelowna keeper too far out of his net and buried a high lobbing shot from just past centre for Vernon’s first tally.
Play went end to end before Kelowna levelled the score 10 minutes later.
Second-half play saw Kelowna returning to the pitch with energy, forcing keeper Ian Oliphant to work hard at holding the score even.
United’s defensive line was out-foxed just before the mid-point of the half, allowing Kelowna to slip in a low shot. Moments later, Oliphant’s efforts at challenging the Kelowna striker on a 50/50 ball were unsuccessful and earned him a trip off the field to convalesce.
Renewed solidarity at losing their keeper increased Vernon’s efforts to create pressure in Kelowna’s end.
A handball in the 25 allowed Jarrod Latta to send a sizzling penalty kick nice and low to the left corner.
Vigorous play rounded out the match with replacement keeper Trent Graham making several solid saves while Vernon midfielders and forwards rallied to create scoring chances while racing against the clock.
Verrnon drops U16-17 games
In U16/17 boys play, Vernon lost 6-1 to Kamloops Blaze and bowed 5-2 to host Penticton at Kings Park.
Zac Kronbauer convertered from Liam Ross and Matt Kreutz for the Vernon goal against Kamloops U16As.
Jason Reich and Isiaih Wenger were brilliant on the back line,” said United coach Mike Melbourne. “They’re seeing lots of action and playing real well.”
United played a man short Saturday in Penticton and got two goals from Ross.
Vernon visits Shuswap Sunday.