The Penticton Pinnacles under-21 women’s team enter the Pacific Coast Soccer League playoffs this weekend with confidence.
It’s what happens when you end the season last weekend with 10-0 and 7-1 wins against Chilliwack FC and the North Shore Girls Soccer Club Stars respectively. The wins helped the Pinnacles finish 6-5-3 and place third in the Reserve Division.
Captain Alana Parker said the group is playing well together and has improved in moving the ball. While the Pinnacles lost both meetings to the Mid Isle Highlanders (Nanaimo) 1-0 and 2-1 during the season, Parker hopes their offence continues how they ended the season.
“We haven’t been able to put the ball in the back of the net against them very well,” she said. “We are trying to think positively. It’s definitely in my mind.”
Parker said Mid Isle moves the ball well with their quick forwards.
“We need to play hard and move the ball around and be confident in ourselves,” she said. “We definitely have a chance. We definitely have the ability. I’m really excited. Go show them what we got.”
Pinnacles coach Ray Hintz liked what he saw from his players to close off the season. He said they focused on attacking the net and finishing chances.
“Even in the games we lost, we still had chances to finish,” he said. “It made a difference too when you put Jana Yates and Jill Flockhart back in the lineup.”
In the final two games Flockhart scored five goals, including three against Chilliwack FC, who was without their regular goalie. They were also missing one of their starting forwards. Another player became sick at half-time, with the Pinnacles up 4-0.
“We don’t try to embarrass people or teams on this field, but I still want my players to finish 90 minutes strong,” said Hintz.
Hintz’s only concern going into playoffs was players not able to attend practices due to injury and work. Going into the weekend, Hintz knows what to expect when they face the Highlanders.
“They have a couple really good scorers,” said Hintz, adding that they utilize space well. “I know one of them isn’t there. We have our work cut out for us.”
Because the Highlanders don’t give up a lot of chances, Hintz said they must make sure to capitalize when they come. As hot as Flockhart was at the end, she won’t be available for the playoffs as she’s in Idaho for university tryouts. Hintz will be counting on Crystal Schuder as a threat.
“She has been a little more patient and is starting to pick corners now on breakaways,” he said.
The Pinnacles will also have the services of Casey Conway and Jana Yates. Bryanne Francisco has also played strong. Hintz has added Hayley and Ashley Melvin of Vancouver.
With West Van FC having won the league with a 10-1-3 record, Hintz said they have a lot of confidence. He also said that the Highlanders are likely disappointed with the way their season ended losing to West Van VC twice. They will be charged up.
“When you come down to a one game playoffs, anything can happen,” he said.
The men’s team didn’t qualify for the playoffs finishing its season going 4-5-3. They fell short of a berth by three points.