The Hope Secondary School Mustangs senior girls soccer team earned a fourth place finish at the club’s home tournament earlier this month – a disappointing finish to what otherwise was a strong showing from the team.
A total of 10 teams took to the Hope pitch on April 8 and 9. Making the trip were squads from: Kamloops, 100 Mile House, Fraser Lake, Clearwater, Seabird, Nechako Valley, Williams Lake, Merritt and Fort St. James.
The Mustangs were placed in Pool A with Kamloops, 100 Mile House, Fraser Lake and Clearwater and finished in second in the round robin with a record of 3-0-1.
Hope picked up a 4-0 over Kamloops, defeated 100 Mile House and Fraser Lake 2-1 and then played Clearwater to 1-1 draw but then lost to them via shootout. The results saw Hope place second behind Clearwater in Pool A. Meanwhile, Pool B saw Williams Lake and Merritt as the top two teams.
The crossover semifinal saw Hope battle Williams Lake and Clearwater challenge Merritt. Hope went on to lose a 2-1 heart breaker to Williams Lake. Mustangs head coach Jeremy Smith said it was an unlucky and devastating result for his side.
“Our girls went up 1-nothing in the first half and we then went heavier on the defense,” he said. “Williams Lake got a lucky goal that slipped through our keepers hands and between her legs. Williams Lake then took a very quick corner which got pushed into the net by the wind, straight off the kick. Our girls poured it on thick and had some good opportunities to score. Our whole team, keeper and all were over centre for the last few minutes of the game.”
Smith explained that the team was then thrust into a battle for third moments after the loss and that the girls were still reeling from the Williams Lake setback.
“Their heads weren’t in the game after the loss they just suffered,” he said. “They ended up losing 4-1 to Merritt, who we had beat 5-0 in an exhibition game just a couple weeks prior. Our girls were the best team in the tournament. They out played every team, but really had some unlucky goals against – which is the way soccer goes.”
Williams Lake defeated Clearwater to take home the tournament title. Smith noted it was the first soccer tournament for Hope since before the pandemic and despite bad weather the teams enjoyed the competition and return to action.
“The weather was horrendous,” he said. “We had seven tents destroyed by wind at the tournament. We had rain, hail, sun, crazy wind. The girls were cold and soaked to the bone, but all teams seemed to enjoy the tournament.”
The girls now head to Merritt to compete in that school’s tournament. The event runs on Friday (April 22) and Saturday (April 23).