U12 teams test mettle at provincials
Boys win fair play award, girls play for bronze
The U12 boys and girls soccer teams had a taste of soccer at the provincial level this past weekend, with St. Paul’s boys hosting seven other teams and the girls heading out to Beaumont to take part in some sizzling soccer play and ultimately making it to the medal rounds.
The boys’ Tier IV rural tournament saw teams from Hinton, Hanna, Athabasca, Beaumount, the Grasslands, Sylvan Lake and Lac La Biche come and test their mettle. The boys would end their first game against the Beaumont Bruins with a 0 - 0 score, but then took a hard hit against the Athabasca Titans, which ended with a 1 – 7 loss for the team. In its third game, St. Paul and the Sylvan Lake Blizzard went head-to-head, with Sylvan Lake coming up on top, 4 – 1. That put St. Paul up against the Brooks team from the Grasslands, to vie for seventh position. St. Paul held the offensive momentum, scoring once to win in that match.
Hinton, Sylvan Lake and Athabasca would come in first, second and third respectively. However, the kids’ sportsmanlike conduct over the weekend did not go unnoticed, as the St. Paul boys team was honoured with the fair play award. Coach Jim Laidley said the award “ranked right up with the medals.”
“We are very honored by this since this is what our community soccer is always trying to instill in our players,” added Michelle Duffy, St. Paul Soccer Association president.
Hosting extends the short soccer season and gives the kids a chance to build on their soccer skills, she said, adding the association hopes to host provincials for one of its age groups again next year.
There were great benefits in participating in provincials, added Laidley, saying, “They learned a lot and hopefully they can continue next year.”
This season, St. Paul played host to three tournaments, a mini-tournament for its younger players, the Lakeland Cup, and the provincials, and in each tournament, the “weather was fantastic,” Duffy said. This past weekend, there were also many positive comments from visitors about St. Paul’s soccer facilities, with Duffy noting that the grouping of grounds enables the association to host bigger tournaments. “We’re very lucky to have these facilities.”
The U12 girls, the St. Paul Blue Crush, along with five players from the St. Paul Firecrackers, headed to Beaumont for provincials, in what coach Amy Thomson said was a real “scorcher” for playing, with temperatures reaching 32 degrees on Sunday.
The girls faced off first against a very strong Edson team, which came away with a 3-0 victory. Edson would later go on to win gold. But it was a different story for the girls on Saturday, with the girls playing very well in the morning, and winning 2 – 1 against Olds, with Tanielle Yacey contributing both goals. Yacey, along with Firecrackers Raven Cardinal and Syndie Bespalko, were players of the game.
In the girls’ next game against Beaumont, they pulled off a 2 – 1 victory with Yacey and Cardinal each scoring a goal. Kyanna Lapatak, and Firecrackers Alycia Cole and Morgan Gerlinsky, would be recognized as players of the game. The win would send the girls into the bronze medal match against Ardrossan. After a scoreless first half, the wind picked up against St. Paul and the girls found themselves working hard without being able to get past Ardrossan’s defense, said Thomson.
“Despite the efforts of our goalie, Ardrossan scored two lucky goals and then formed a human wall in front of their net. We were defeated 2-0, dropping into fourth place,” she wrote in an email to the Journal. “We are in no way disappointed, the girls made it to provincials and then made it into the medal rounds . . . Great job, St. Paul U12 girls!”
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