U17 girls conquer league rivals in gold medal game
Rachel Ware of the Camrose Vikings U17 pursues the ball in the gold medal game against Ponoka in Rudy Swanson Park in Camrose on Saturday. Leah Simonot/Camrose Canadian
The Camrose Vikings U17 girls conquered their league rivals on their gold medal path at the provincials.
Chanelle Bauer secured their Alberta Soccer Association championship title with a goal against Ponoka Storm in the 1-0 gold medal game at Rudy Swanson Park Sunday.
They opened with a 2-0 win over Olds Friday with goals by Bauer and Rebecca Lehman. Bauer and Lehman also scored in their 2-1 victory over Edson on Saturday.
The provincial championship comes after the team fell 4-3 to Stettler in a bronze medal penalty shootout game last year. Bauer said communication and drive made the difference this time around.
“Our highs would probably be we were playing as a team and passing it around,” she said. “We were focussing on talking more throughout the season because we’re pretty quiet.”
The tight competition between the teams provided ample ambition to ramp up their game. Central Alberta Soccer Association’s top three U17 girls' scorers were all on the field Sunday: Bauer shares first in the division with Ponoka’s Brooklyn Budd at seven goals, while Camrose’s Desyrae Leclercq was second in the division with six goals.
The Vikings went in with only one win over their rival — a 5-2 decision on May 9 — and three losses, including 1-0 in the league championship game on June 20. The two teams then tied in the zone final with identical 2-0-1 records but Ponoka advanced on with the banner due to a better goals-for and goals-against ratio while Camrose made it into the provincial tournament as hosts.
Coming out on top this time was satisfying.
“[It was] just determination. Wanting it,” said Bauer. “Beating both of our rival teams was pretty good.”
Head coach Chris Howard said the team pushed through on confidence.
“I told them all weekend they’re champions and they’re champions. It started from all of them and they all deserve it” he said. “They believe in themselves, they can do it and they did it.”
The redemptive win will fuel their game next year as the team of three years moves forward together and testify to their strength as a unit.
“We’ve been keeping the same pace and keeping what we’ve been doing. It’s just team management and team bonding that’s been going on,” said Howard. “Being a team is major — it’s major, it’s everything.”
Edson took bronze after coming out on top 5-2 against Sherwood Park.
The Camrose Vikings U15 girls also had a successful run at provincials, taking home a silver medal with a 3-2 win over Sherwood Park (Hodges) in St. Paul, the U15 boys (Thomposn) finished eighth, and the U-19 boys finished fifth.