Summer left town a few weeks early this year — but the Hope Secondary boys’ soccer team happened to find it last weekend, by travelling to Pemberton for a five-team tournament.
“We drove up on Thursday and the sun was shining,” said coach Jeremy Smith, Monday. “We didn’t get any rain.”
As for their play, Smith said, “We did better than I expected. We only had 12 guys and we had lost our starter goalie to illness. We lost 10 or 11 Grade 12s to graduation and we had three Grade 8s along on the trip.”
When they played the host school, Pemberton lent Hope a goalie, who helped them to a respectable 5-2 loss. Scoring for the Mustangs were Julius Brysch and Thor Nielsen.
The Mustangs have had some real nail-biters versus Merritt over the years and they had another one at Pemberton.
“We dominated play and had many chances to score,” said the coach. Problem was, they couldn’t break the tie in regulation time. In the penalty kick tie-breaker, Jamie Dearden, Troy Adams and Brysch scored and Merritt only got one goal past Brysch.
Hope finished fourth and Pemberton edged out 100 Mile House, 2-1 for first place.
100 Mile House, Merritt and Pemberton will be in Hope for the Mustangs’ 12-team tournament, October 4 and 5.
“It’s the biggest-ever home tournament for the guys,” said Smith. “The girls have had up to 16.”
Teams from Agassiz and Seabird Island will be the closest visitors, with most of the others coming from the Interior.
“Prince George’s West Side Academy will be here, for the first time,” said Smith.
Two pitches are planned for the Hope Secondary field, where regular irrigation over the summer has left the grass in good shape, said Smith. C. E. Barry and Silver Creek fields will also be used, to keep the schedule rolling.
The Mustangs hosted Seabird on Tuesday and were beaten 6-3, so they know they’ve got work to do, to get tuned up for the tournament.