UBC T-Birds have great time camping in Penticton

Six local girls help fill out roster as university club grapples with injuries

UBC Thunderbirds keeper Marlee Maracle stretches to try and stop this scoring attempt by Meagan Paternack during the shootout at the end of the intersquad came at Kings Park

UBC Thunderbirds keeper Marlee Maracle stretches to try and stop this scoring attempt by Meagan Paternack during the shootout at the end of the intersquad came at Kings Park

UBC Thunderbirds women’s coach Andrea Neil said it was a beautiful experience for everyone having their training camp in Penticton Aug. 14 to 18.

Neil, who took over the Thunderbirds women’s soccer program eight months ago, said the camp was very well hosted by the Penticton Pinnacles and the people there. Neil said the Pinnacles and city were second to none and said they loved the facilities.

“A lot of work was done. We couldn’t be more pleased with this past week,” said Neil, adding that they will be back with an identification camp in the future.

Neil said having an identification camp helps them draw more players from different regions.

The Thunderbirds wrapped up their five-day camp with an inter-squad game on the final day of the Peach City Classic soccer tournament.

Neil said the inter-squad match is an important aspect after some heavy work to see where the players are.

“Very pleased with everybody’s effort,” said Neil, as team Gold earned a 2-1 decision over Team Blue with the help of penalty kicks. “Taking little notches up the rung. They have put in a lot of work over the past few weeks. We’re still building.”

During that game, six members of Pinnacles FC also played helping to fill gaps for injured or healing T-Birds players. Neil said while it’s a tough task having the players in, she said it’s another testament to the team when you insert six new players into the roster that takes a different element of organization for them.

“The players did a really great job of jumping in and helping out and still maintaining organization,” said Neil of Lina Campagnaro, Marisa Mendonca, McKenzie Ricard, Alix Varchol, Kylie Erb and Kyra Wallace. “That’s a testament to them. Testament to the players on the field to vocalize and help them.”

Inserting the six Pinnacles FC players gave Neil the opportunity to see them in a different environment.

“We’re thrilled about bringing players in to give them the experience,” said Neil of the players recommended to them. “Great opportunity for them to get a little taste of what it’s all about.”

Mendonca said the play was faster and passes were quick.

“You had to be on your toes a lot more,” she said. “As the game went on I got more used to it. They talk a lot so it made that easy.”

Varchol said it was a good experience, especially because she wants to play university soccer.

“I kind of know where I have to be at now to play with them,” said Varchol, who played centre mid and left wing. “It was good I liked it. There were times I felt like I needed to pick up my pace a little. I feel like I’m pretty close to where I need to be now.”

The T-Birds also utilized their camp to spend more time together. Away from the field, the players became closer with planned activities.

Christina Donnelly, who scored two goals last season, said being in Penticton for the camp was great.

“This trip is mostly about getting ourselves together as a group,” said Donnelly. “It really makes a difference.”