Mustangs ready for Valley Championship

The Maggie Mustangs put their focus on trying to win another Okanagan Valley Championship

Maggie Mustangs Jasper Pankratz (right) and Grace Neily of the Oliver Hornets battle for ball control in midfield play during senior high school girls soccer action at Maggie this week. The Mustangs blanked their opponents 3-0.

The Princess Margaret Mustangs senior girls soccer team would like to win another provincial championship.

However, before they can give themselves a chance to reach that goal, they must finish in the top two of the South Okanagan Valley Championship, which they host May 17-18.

The Mustangs completed their regular season Tuesday with a 3-0 win over the Oliver Hornets to finish 4-0.

“I thought it was probably one of our better games. There was a lot more passing,” said Mustangs captain Jasper Pankratz. “We have been playing more games as a team now. Everybody is working well together compared to our previous games.”

Pankratz led the Mustangs attack with a pair of goals, while Bleranda Vrenzi scored the other. Lexi Grady said that final match provided a good chance to try things with their lineup, including different plays.

At the Valley Championship, Pankratz and Grady know it will be more difficult.

“Definitely a lot harder than what we have been playing against now,” said Pankratz, who helped the Mustangs win a provincial championship in 2014 with Grady.

“I think we’ve grown a lot as a team. It’s a lot of new girls that we haven’t played with before,” said Grady. “A lot of grade 12s left and I think we’re ready for bigger and better teams. Seeing more advanced teams will probably be a challenge.”

Mustangs coach John Buckley, who co-coached the school to last provincial championship, described this season as a rebuilding year. He knows, though, that they have leadership from older players. The Mustangs have five players from that championship squad. Along with Pankratz and Grady, are Sydney McKinlay as well as Cook sisters, Brooklyn and Madison.

“We definitely have the athleticism and the skills in the younger girls,” said Buckley. “We will see how we stack up against  some of the older teams. Sometimes age doesn’t really mean anything. It’s the effort and the game and the skill. I think they will be very competitive.”

What he likes about his team is how the older players bring their leadership, a presence on the field. That, along with work ethic rubs off on the younger players.

“They know what it takes. I think it’s huge their leadership and their energy,” he said. “It will be

important for us to be successful.”

All the Valley championship games will take place at King’s Park. Maggie opens against Seaton at 9 a.m. Their second game is against Valleyview at 12:30 p.m. On Wednesday at 11 a.m., the Mustangs will take on Fulton. The championship game will be played at 1:30 p.m.



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