The Tim Horton’s Penticton Pinnacles U21 men’s team is facing Chilliwack FC on Saturday and looking for a win to advance to the Pacific Coast Soccer League finals against either the Abbotsford MF Mariners or Mid Isle Highlanders.
In their two matches this year against Chilliwack, the Pinnacles walked away with a 4-1 win on their home pitch at Kings Park and then tied them two weeks ago 1-1 in Chilliwack.
“It will be a good game, like us they have also improved and are playing really good football,” said Pinnacles coach Paulo Araujo.
In order to get past Chilliwack to the Challenge Cup finals, Araujo said the team will have to keep the structure and balance that they have held all season. The Pinnacles have also been capitalizing on their goal-scoring chances as of late, tallying 13 goals in their final two regular season games.
This has helped put the Pinnacles Randy Hubban, Wyatt Seddon-Johnstone and Andrew Stevenson into the Top 10 regular season goalscorers.
“At the beginning of the season we were creating chances but not scoring, now our chances are going in. I think it is confidence. The boys are a little more confident, settled down and relaxed a little bit,” said Araujo.
The Pinnacles finished second in the standings, with a record of 7-2-5 and just seven points behind the Mariners.
“I didn’t think we would finish where we did. My goal was to see if we could make it to the playoffs which we did but I didn’t realize how dominating we were going to be especially as the season wore on,” said Araujo. “We kept getting better and better and the boys are playing really good football. My hope was just to squeeze in at fourth place but coming in second was a good treat.”
The Greenscape Penticton Pinnacles U21 women just slipped into the PCSL championship weekend taking fourth place.
The team was tied with Kelowna United for overall points, but their better goals for and against average earned them the berth to the Challenge Cup.
“Our defence has been our corner stone all year. If I had to pick a team MVP, it would be our defence that is led by Emily Annett and Alana Parker and Mila Miller in the middle,” said Pinnacles coach Ray Hintz.
The Pinnacles face TSS Academy Black on Saturday, a squad that finished first overall, having lost just one game all season. It’s a daunting task, but not one that scares the Pinnacles. The teams met just two weeks ago with the Pinnacles losing a close game 2-1.
“They are a young ball possession team that is really quick. We had a really good game against them last time and the girls are going to be up and ready to go so I think we will have to play a solid game all around,” said Hintz. “We took it to them in the second half but just couldn’t finish our chances. I think it is going to come down on scoring on those chances. We are looking forward to the challenge.”
Adding to the tough task is the fact the team is without their leading scorer Anika Nystrom, who also finished first overall in the women’s reserve league.
Hintz said he feels very comfortable the players he brings this weekend will step up to fill her role.
“We have had a good year and give a lot of thanks to our sponsor Greenscape and Tony Patrocinio,” said Hintz.