The Hope Mustangs senior girls soccer team took home silver in Merritt. (Submitted)

Hope Mustangs senior girls soccer earn silver in Merritt

Mustangs finish second with another strong showing at senior girls event

The Hope Secondary School Mustangs senior girls soccer took home a silver medal from Merritt in late-April to continue the team’s strong spring.

The two-day event began on April 22, with the Mustangs finishing in the top four and advancing to the final four playoff stage on Saturday. HSS played a total of four games on Friday for placement and competed against eight other teams in the round robin stage.

The team opened the playoff by defeating the host Merritt Secondary Panthers 4-1 on April 23. That win advanced them to the finals and a date with the Abbotsford Christian School Knights later that day.

The championship game was a defensive battle, with the Knights earning the 1-0 win. Head coach Jeremy Smith said he was pleased with his team’s efforts

“Our girls went straight into the Abby Christian game following the Merritt game,” he said. “They were tired, having played four games the day prior and no rest between games, it was rough. However, our girls battled hard and took a hard loss to Abby Christian in a 1-0 game. The girls did not take their feet off the gas, they had great set ups leading to close calls for Abby in the final minutes of the game.”

He noted that this is the best finish a Hope team of his had had in his nine years at the school.

“I was incredibly proud of our girls in this tournament,” he said. “They were once again the best team in this tournament, but the draw worked against them. It was a silver finish for our girls, with nine teams in attendance. The best finish our girls have had under my nine years of coaching.”

The team heads to Clearwater for another tournament this weekend and continued to hang on to second place in the club’s regular season standings.

They played Abbotsford’s St. John Brebeuf Bears to a 2-2 draw on April 26 and Smith added that his team’s performance against some of the bigger and more established players continues to impress him.

“We haven’t played league in years as we often experienced double digit losses in league play so this is a very exciting year,” he said. “Down the valley most teams will have a handful of community players that may have played since four or five years old. Our team is made up of players who don’t experience the level of community soccer you see down the valley. In the SJB game, two of our Grade 7’s saw a lot of playing time, which is unheard of in a senior girls league. I could not be more proud of this team. We do not rely on any one player for our success. This year we have a team that is working so well as a unit, growing as a team in leaps and bounds one game and one tournament at a time. It’s an exciting year to be a coach.”

The second place showing comes on the heels of a fourth place finish by the girls at their home tournament in early-April.

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