A few Pinnacles FC girls soccer teams have their sights set on winning as Penticton hosts the B.C. Soccer Provincial B Cup.
Pinnacles FC will be represented by the under-14, 15, 17 and 18 squads. Ray Hintz, coach of the U14 and U18 teams, said having a strong start is key. He has always held the belief that success in the first game leads to more.
“For us to win a medal it would be great,” said Hintz. “I’m excited to see what they can do.”
While Hintz’ team didn’t quite get the amount of training he would have liked over the last three weeks, he likes how they look, especially with injured players returning. Hintz held a final practice before provincials begin Thursday and used it to make lineup adjustments. Including not having his regular goalkeeper who is suspended for the first game. The player earned a red card late in their final play down match.
The Pinnacles open against the Richmond Ravens at Kings Park 3 at 3 p.m. on Thursday, their second match is Friday at Kings Park 4 against the Surrey Tigers at 11 a.m. and they close out pool play against the Tsawwassen Blues on Saturday at 11 a.m.
With his U14 squad, he said they are in tough company. They open against the Chilliwack Attack on Thursday at 9 a.m. in Summerland at Dale Meadows 2. Their second game is against Kelowna United FC at Kings Park 1 at 11 a.m. and their final pool match is Saturday at 3 p.m. against the Prince George Timberwolves at Kings Park 2. All three are strong programs, including Kelowna, which won the Thompson Okanagan play downs. The main message Hintz gave his players is to have fun.
“They have been working hard all year. I know they will put the effort forward,” he said.
The U17 squad played up a division and managed one win in 12 matches. Coach Michelle Little said playing in a higher division made for a challenging season.
“We are up against the best in the province, so I am expecting just as hard games,” said Little. “I am excited to see how the team handles the teams in their age group and hope to play competitively.”
Little wants her players to use this as an opportunity to showcase what they have practised over the season. More importantly, she wants them to have a positive experience.
“Provincials are a great opportunity to bond as a team and have a unique experience,” she said.
Offensively, the Pinnacles will count on Nadia Campagnaro, Brooke Planedin and Lauren Smith. She will also look to Jessica Lewis, Megan Mccafferty and Caroline Brunton to play solid defensively and keep the composure in the back field.
Little said based on their regular season, they are the underdogs of provincials.
“Because we are under dogs, we have nothing to lose going into provincials,” she said. “I hope this will be a shot at redemption for the team. A medal would be icing on the cake.”
Their first game is Thursday at 3 p.m. against the Columbia Valley Titans at Kings Park 4, then Friday they take on the Williams Lake Storm at 1 p.m. at Dale Meadows Park 3 in Summerland and Saturday are against the Burnaby Girls Impact at 3 p.m. at Kings Park 3.
The U-15 squad coached by Derrick Webb also played a division higher. Webb said playing against older competition this season gives them an edge.
“The speed of play against older girls is much quicker, a little tougher,” he said. “Sometimes we’re maybe a half step behind those older girls. Playing against girls our own age, we tend to be one of the speedier teams.”
While having a few injuries, the Pinnacles are ready and he feels his team has a very good chance of coming out with a medal.
“I think it will be a bit of a disappointment if we don’t at least medal,” said Webb, adding his team may be peaking at the right time.
Webb’s squad opens against Kootenay South Thursday at Kings Park 2 at 1 p.m. On Friday at 3 p.m. they face the BGSC Blaze at Kings Park 3 and on Saturday wrap up pool play at 1 p.m. against the Surrey FC Devils at Dale Meadows 2.
Webb is also hoping it works out that his squad and Kelowna’s face for the provincial title. After having Kelowna get the victories over them in the past, he wants to see that flip.