Pinnacles FC is sending four teams to provincials in Prince George and North Vancouver.
They advanced following the Thompson Okanagan Youth Soccer League playoffs in Kamloops over the weekend.
The under-14 boys team downed Vernon 4-1 in their first game, then defeated Kelowna United 3-1 in the final to advance.
Like last year, the squad struggled in the regular season against Kelowna United but was able to win when it mattered most.
“The kids are very ecstatic,” said coach Joe Afonso, after his group defeated a tough team.
Scoring for Pinnacles FC were Reece Haberstock and Simon Snyman with two. Afonso stressed the win wouldn’t have happened without strong efforts from all players.
“Defence played solid. My main mid-field players were spectacular,” he said. “Everyone came together and actually, it wasn’t one of those games where you just won. I think we dominated.”
Heading into provincials July 4 to 7 in Prince George, Afonso said the win has given his players confidence. Contributing to that are the parents who have proven to be big supporters.
“The same parents always there,” said Afonso. “That gave the kids confidence in their play.”
Now Afonso will give his players this week off to enjoy the wins, but also heal.
Joining the under-14 boys at provincials will be the under-18 squad coached by Murali Venkataraman. They defeated Shuswap FC 2-0.
On the girls side, PFC is sending the under-18 girls coached by Derrick Webb. They advanced while not having play downs since they are the only team in that age group. They will be joined by Carlos Mendonca’s under-16 team.
That team advanced by shutting out Vernon 1-0 from a Taylor Corrie penalty kick goal. That win qualified the team for provincials as the Okanagan has two berths in that age group.
Playing with a short bench since they are dealing with injuries, Mendonca’s group had to play an error-free game. Mendonca said his team made a couple of mistakes, which resulted in two goals.
“We played a decent possession game,” he said. “In the second half we started to have a tough time because of the short bench. Everyone was tired. During the last few minutes we got a goal. The girls used so much energy against Vernon.”
Mendonca said Natasha Reimer was fantastic in goal.
The under-13 boys team started strong with a 6-0 win over Shuswap. Then they ran into Kamloops, the best team in the league and lost 2-0. Coach Michael Barron wanted to see his team play hard and have fun and they did.
“I was so proud of how they played,” said Barron. “They were excellent. We went down early in the game against Kamloops. After that, we had a lot of chances, could have tied it in the second half, just couldn’t put the ball in the net.”
Pinnacles FC had one team in the A Cup, which was an under-15 boys squad. They lost both their games to the Kamloops Blaze 4-3 and 3-0. The Pinnacles were faced with the challenge of dealing with two injuries and one suspension.
“We played fantastically well on the Saturday,” said coach Adam Vallis.
Scoring came from Darian Johnson with two and Bjorn Boron. Vallis said a couple of bad calls against them resulted in goals and negatively impacted his players.
“Guys came off feeling deflated and cheated,” he said. “It didn’t set them up well for next day. We were very tired. It was visible on their faces. We barely got out of their end in the first half.”
With strong goalkeeping from Brady VanRyswyk, the Pinnacles only trailed 1-0 at the half. They couldn’t contain the Blaze who scored two early goals.
Vallis said he was very proud of his players.
“We definitely held our own,” he said. “I would say the future looks bright for PFC. We will come back stronger and as a better team.”
The under-13 girls lost to Vernon 4-0, while the under-14 girls defeated Kelowna 4-3 then lost to Vernon 1-0. Under-15 girls edged Kelowna 3-2 then lost to Vernon 6-1.