Okotoks United bronzed at Communities Cup
Soccer: Girls U16 finish third in division at marquee home tournament
Sunday, Jan 21, 2018 06:00 am
The early bird gets the worm.
Okotoks got a lead and kept it to claim bronze in the girls U16 Tier III division highlighting the second week of action at the Anthem United Communities Cup Sunday afternoon at the Crescent Point Regional Field House.
“From our girls it was the intensity right off the bat,” said Okotoks United U16 head coach Danja Thurgood. “We had really high tempo which was great, we were getting first to the ball which also takes away from the other team getting first to the ball.
“It’s nice for the girls to go out there, do what we’ve been talking about for the whole season and actually go out there and get it done.”
Okotoks kicked itself into pole position in the early going en route to a 2-1 win over West Hills.
Grace Friesen made no mistake on the team’s first true scoring chance, collecting the ball at the top of the box and finding the back of the net.
They would double the lead early in the second half with a touch of fortune.
Hannah Earle’s strong shot was too hot to handle, fell out of the keeper’s reach and bounced directly off the West Hills defender and into the net.
West Hills made it interesting late, breaking the clean sheet with just three minutes left in regulation.
That’s as close as they would get.
“They get a late one, an unfortunate one from our keeper not being able to hang on to it properly,” the coach added. “It happens in games, it was one of those things at the end where the girls at the end are nervous and thinking ‘oh no, we’ve got a couple minutes left and need to hang on.’
“They didn’t make that many mistakes, kept themselves tight and they worked hard. It was a good finish.”
Okotoks handled the adversity to a tee.
United actually had the better of the scoring chances and had West Hills hemmed in its own zone until the final buzzer.
The hometown squad advanced to the medal round by virtue of its 1-1-1 record in round-robin.
Following a 5-1 defeat to the eventual gold medalist Sherwood Park Phoenix, Okotoks kicked back with a 4-1 romp in its first of two meetings with WHU.
Okotoks completed the preliminary round in a 1-1 draw versus Airdrie FC – the silver medal winning squad.
“The girls did fantastic – I hope they really enjoyed themselves,” Thurgood said. “The whole weekend proved to themselves they can play at a high level which for me as a coach that’s all I can ask for.
“It’s our home turf and the girls have a little more pressure on them to go out there and do their best.”
In the girls U14 Tier III ranks Okotoks, playing up a division as a Tier IV squad, earned a sixth-place finish.
United fought off opening losses to Calgary’s MSB and MUSC to edge Medicine Hat 2-1. The Mackenzie United Valkyries edged Okotoks 3-1 in the fifth place match.
The action continues at the field house for the third and final weekend featuring the U11 to U18 boys competition from Jan. 26-28.
For more information go to okotoksunitedsoccer.ca