On June 1 the members of the Nakusp Secondary Senior Girls soccer team traveled the daunting distance up to Prince George to participate in this year’s BC School Sports Single A provincial soccer tournament. The girls qualified for the competition at a zone playoff whereby defeating the team from Boundary Central the girls earned one of the two West Kootenay berths. The other berth was claimed by Fernie.
The 2016 soccer provincials were hosted in Prince George by Ft. St. James Secondary School. Sixteen teams from around the province qualified for the tournament and were shuffled into four pools and played a round robin bracket in the first round. In the second round the teams played a crossover game and were sorted into their final match to determine provincial placing. Nakusp was drawn into a pool with Burns Lake, Osoyoos and Credo Christian.
Unfortunately the competition was such that the girls found themselves at the bottom of their pool at the end of the round robin round and were saddled up to play Northside Christian for the crossover game. Both teams were scrapping to avoid the bottom dredges of the tournament pool, as a loss would delegate the team to the 15th/16th place final, but Northside proved to be hungrier than the Cougars and walked away with the win.
Nakusp entered the soccer pitch Saturday morning to play Fernie for 15th or 16th place without a win in the tournament or a goal in the last three games of competition. After a tense opening 15 minutes of game play, Abby Boswell finally found the back of the net with a slick play and alleviated the nervous tensions that plagued the girls. A more relaxed Cougar team took control of the game and avoided a last place finish by settling the Fernie match 2-0.
Senior team member, Renee Goodman, recounted the tournament, recalling, “the game play was tough, the girls were big and fast. We had a young team, so it was more difficult to compete against other teams that had more Grade 12s than we did. We learned a lot about ball control and working together but we were in a situation where we played teams we have never played before and we had to find a rhythm and grow off each other and adjust to the high level of play.” Goodmen went on to comment that the team had some growing pains during the regular season with incontinency in the roster, but went on to praise the younger players who “really stepped up and filled in the gaps”.
Nakusp Cougar Junior team member Sonja Petterson was happy she made the roster in her Grade 8 year and was impressed with the girls’ resiliency during the competition.
“The games were difficult, but we tried our best and did alright. The teams we played were very good and I don’t think we communicated very well on the field, but as a team we grew and adjusted to the high level of play. We never got down on ourselves when the games started to slip away from us, we did well at staying positive and fighting to the end.”