Treating the start of the Pacific Coast Soccer League season as exhibition games is working for the Penticton Hyundai Pinnacles under-21 women’s team.
The Pinnacles, defending Challenge Cup champions of the Reserve Division, improved to 2-1 with a 2-0 win over TSS Academy Black Saturday at King’s Park. Pinnacles assistant coach/player Jana Yates was asked if coach Ray Hintz’s early mindset on the season was a way to keep expectations low.
“I would say that’s probably the tactic. Not too much pressure,” said Yates. “We seem to have different girls coming in and out of the lineup. It takes the pressure off.”
The Pinnacles controlled possession for much of the second half.
“It’s coming,” said Yates of the possession. “I would like to see more possession out of our team.”
Yates acknowledged the players are still getting to know each other, but was pleased with the chances generated and senses they won’t have trouble scoring this season.
Early in the season, Yates has been impressed with Melanie Shannon, who scored both goals in the win against TSS Academy Black and is proving to be a threat up front.
“She’s added spark to our offence,” said Yates. “It’s also nice to have our central midfielders. We have LaDawn (Latawiec) who is new to our team. She keeps the central mid together.”
Along with Mila Miller and Alana Parker in the back, Yates feels they have a strong core.
Shannon comes to the Pinnacles after a three-year career with the West Texas A&M Lady Buff. In her first season Shannon scored two goals (goals are worth two points) and added five assists for nine points. She received an all-LSC Honorable Mention for her play on the field. In the next two seasons, Shannon scored five goals and added three assists in 28 games.
“It was awesome. Great coaching,” said Shannon of her time with the Lady Buff. “Learned a lot from them.”
The Okanagan Mission grad, who joined the team through her connection to Pinnacles player Brittany Loney, said she felt good during the game and said the group has only practised a few times together.
“I think our passing was really good today. We can improve,” said Shannon, adding that they communicated well.
When asked what it’s like to go from playing at the university level to the PCSL, Shannon said it’s always going to be a challenge (coming) from a higher level. She feels that she has a lot to teach the younger girls and looks forward to seeing them improve.
Shannon, who is now studying to get her bachelor of nursing at UBC-O, will offer support to teammates looking to go to college. She also intends to learn from the younger players, adding that athletes are never at their full potential.
The Pinnacles’ next action is May 24 at King’s Park against the Fraser Valley Action. The team also plans to play in the 53rd Pacific Western Brewery May Classic put on by the Penticton Soccer Club. The Penticton Tim Hortons Pinnacles under-21 men’s team didn’t play on the weekend and return to action this weekend. They travel to Victoria to face the Mid Isle Islanders at Ladysmith Turf.