Hosting the 2014 B.C. High School AA senior girls soccer provincial championships is being looked at as a second chance for the Princess Margaret Mustangs.
The Mustangs, who will host the provincial championship for the first time May 29 to 31, travelled to Courtney just over a month ago for the 2013 provincials and placed 14th among 16 teams. With a full returning squad that lost one senior from 2013, coach John Buckley likes what he has for next season.
“We have some solid players coming in at the bottom end of the program,” said Buckley.
This past season, Buckley had the challenging task of building a team of 20 from a group of 37. He said next season will be a real battle and added if the team can stay healthy, they have the pieces to be knocking on the door. The Mustangs are the defending Okanagan champions and Buckley said the team is excited to again compete for a provincial championship. They dealt with three significant injuries during provincials but gained valuable experience and confidence by winning the Valley championship. They proved to themselves that they are a top team during the 2013 provincials.
“The girls are really excited,” he said. “They made a commitment to start the off-season training, the fitness and conditioning. Work as a group for four or five months.
“It’s an honour to be awarded, lots of different communities bid on it,” he said, adding it’s great for tourism and the sport. “It brings the top 16 teams in the province to Penticton. It’s really good recognition for our school, the school district and the community to have the weekends attention from the province.”
Buckley admitted he has the itch for a new season to start. However, he said it’s good for the players to have a break.
“They are hungry,” he said. “I haven’t seen that kind of excitement around for a long time with regards to hosting and having a chance to be a contender. Sometimes when you host you are not always a contender. It’s an exciting time for this group.
“These girls know how close they are to winning a high school provincial title and it will be exciting to play in our hometown,” he continued. “We will be a skilled, fit and aggressive team.”