Mustangs coach thrilled with provincial championship play

Top four finish eludes Mustangs senior girls soccer team but coach more than happy with play

A top four finish eluded the Princess Margaret Mustangs senior girls soccer team during provincials.

The Mustangs returned to Penticton from Courtney finishing 14th among 16 teams. Coach John Buckley said his team competed at a high level for the entire tournament and impressed many other programs with their skilled possession game and work ethic.

The Mustangs fortunes during the round robin changed when they lost to the Ballenas Whalers 1-0. Ballenas, a group that played a physical style that included tackling late and hard, dashed the Mustangs hopes when they score a late goal from a defensive miscommunication. The loss also dropped the Mustangs from first in their pool to fourth. Mustang Jessie Olfert received Player of the Game honours for her unmatched performance.

In their first playoff game, the Mustangs matched the intensity of the Terrace Secondary Kermode Bears and received offense from Sydney McKinlay and Taylor Corrie for a 2-0 win. Their final game pitted them against defending B.C. Champions Seycove Seyhawks.

“In one of the best skill games of the championships, Maggie traded attacking chances in a battle between two skilled teams,” said Buckley. “Seycove ended up on top with a 2-1 victory, but not after controversy as the Mustangs stormed the net and had several great scoring chances and a sure goal saved off the line in the final seconds by a no-call hand ball.”

Deb Rose, who finished her four-year career, was named Player of the Game.

The Mustangs opened the provincial championship against Abbotsford Traditional School Titans, losing 1-0. McKenzie Ricard was awarded Player of the Game for great defending and leadership. The team regrouped to defeat Nelson’s L.V. Rogers Bombers 1-0. The Bombers placed fourth. Jessica Castle was selected Player of the Game.

Ricard was selected to the tournament all-star team and played her best games of the year.  “The Mustangs deserved better but struggled to score on their chances as top goal scorer Nicole Mann was lost to an injury suffered in the May long-weekend district team exhibition tournament,” said Buckley. “Jessie Olfert, Rylee McKinlay and Deb Rose all battled hard thru injuries and were strong contributors to the team’s performance.”

Buckley added there is excitement for next season since they only lose one player.