On Nov. 7-9 the Nakusp Secondary School (NSS) boys soccer team competed in the BC High School A Tier Soccer Championships in White Rock. Nakusp qualified for the competition in the Kootenay playoff on Oct. 20 in Midway.
In their first game the Nakusp team faced the host Southridge school who were the Fraser Valley champions. The game was played on a very small artificial turf field and quickly turned into a very physical contest. Southridge scored off a throw in 15 minutes into the game and dominated the early play. NSS had two good scoring chances but lost momentum on an own goal late in the first half. Southridge played solid defence throughout the game and scored two more late goals as Nakusp pushed players forward trying to get back in the game.
NSS played St. Andrews Regional High School from Victoria in their second pool game. St. Andrews was ranked in the top four in the province up until an unexpected loss in their zone playoff. The NSS back row and several good saves by Ben Gardner kept Victoria off the score sheet with solid team defence. Early in the second half NSS capitalized off a free kick set play with Kalen Jones scoring the go ahead goal. St. Andrews stormed the Nakusp end for the last 20 minutes but were unable to equalize resulting in an upset victory for NSS.
The last pool game for Nakusp was against the Aberdeen Hall team from Kelowna. The Kelowna school had several top level players and put pressure on the Nakusp team from the first whistle. Aberdeen Hall scored two goals late in the first half and the NSS team couldn’t generate any offence against the talented Okanagan team. Unfortunately for Nakusp a potential second place pool finish turned into a fourth place result as Southridge, which had already won the pool, rested their starters in a loss to St. Andrews.
Westside Academy from Prince George were the next opponents for the NSS team. Nakusp dominated the game from the outset and recorded a 3-0 victory on two goals by Kalen Jones and a single tally by Brayden Reardon. This set up a Kootenay matchup between Selkirk from Kimberley and Nakusp in the final game.
The game was a tough defensive struggle with neither team able to score in regulation time. In the shootout Nakusp scored on their first four shots while Kimberley only managed to convert one of their first three penalty kicks giving NSS the victory and Kootenay bragging rights.
The tournament was dominated once again by private schools as only four public schools were able to qualify for the 16 team event. Nakusp was the only public school to have a winning record in the tournament with three wins and two losses. Immaculata from Kelowna defeated West Point Grey Academy from Vancouver in the championship game.