Silver linings for provincial soccer hosts
Travis Dolter of the Camrose U18 Vikings battles with a Cold Lake defender at the tier IV rural provincials in Camrose on July 7. See Page 13 for the full story. Ryan Stelter/ Camrose Canadian
Camrose minor soccer teams braved the blistering heat to come out with four silver medals at the tier IV rural provincials this past weekend.
Sunday had the potential to be huge for Camrose teams with the U14 (Befus) boys, U14 girls, U18 boys all making it to the final in their division but all finished in second place. The U14 girls lost in dramatic fashion, in a penalty shootout, and the U16 girls fared no better in their penalty shootout in their bronze medal match. The U12 boys team finished sixth in the province and the U14 (Thompson) boys team finished in seventh. Despite no team capturing a gold medal at provincials, it was an excellent tournament for local teams.
Camrose welcomed 66 teams and 1,300 plus players and coaches from across rural Alberta for the tier IV rural provincials. With Camrose hosting all age divisions from U12 to U18, teams from Camrose had to earn their right to play at provincials.
The big story line coming out of the final day for Camrose teams was the penalty shootout. In the first gold medal match of the tournament, the U14 Vikings finished 90 minutes knotted at one goal a piece with Athabasca. After 20 minutes of extra time, the Vikes fell in a heartbreaking penalty shootout. Camrose had known that feeling of losing to Athabasca on penalties before, as they suffered the same fate at the Under the Lights Classic.
“We lost by a penalty kick in the final of the gold medal match, I can’t be more proud of the girls,” head coach Richard Cowan said. “It’s one penalty kick between us and Athabasca, we’re two good teams and we have a lot of respect for each other.”
Cowan says his team can be proud of how they played throughout the tournament.
“Getting a silver medal is a huge accomplishment for these kids, they’ve worked hard for it,” he said. “I’m grateful for them and the work they put into it, I’m also very grateful to the parents and sticking it out through the heat with us as well throughout the weekend.”
The U16 girls were tied 3-3 in their bronze medal match against Stettler after 90 minutes of play, and once again it was the dreaded penalty shootout that was the demise of Camrose, as they failed to convert a single one of their penalties.
“They’ve been phenomenal, they really deserved it,” said head coach of the U16 girls team, Chris Howard. “It’s a bit of an advantage [to play at home] but it’s ultimately heart breaking to lose at home to a team we’ve never lost to.”
After cruising to a 4-0 win over Olds in the semifinal on Sunday morning, Lowell Befus’ U14 boys team faltered at the final step against Vermillion, losing by a score of 4-1. The loss stings for Befus, but being able to play at home was an advantage.
“Parent support and all the fans, when we scored they were loud,” he said. “Tremendous to play in Camrose and I think they did a great job hosting.”
Across the road, the U18 Vikings were doing battle with Lacombe in their gold medal match. After falling behind 2-0 early in the second half, Travis Dolter headed home a corner to pull within one goal before the half. Lacombe converted a penalty early in the second half to make it 3-1, but Ewan Schellenberg pulled Camrose within one yet again. They were unable to come up with an equalizer and finished as provincial silver medallists. Despite being labelled as a tier IV provincial tournament, the U18 boys play tier III indoor soccer in the winter.
“All of these boys are capable playing a higher level,” head coach Konrad Schellenberg said. “Generally at rural tier IV provincials you do see really good teams that can all play a higher level.”
There was some high level of soccer being played out and the facilities in Camrose were up to the task.
“It’s a world class facility that the [Alberta Soccer Association] has told us that we have here,” Howard, the president of the Camrose and District Soccer Association said. “That’s why they chose Camrose to host provincials.”