Soccer pitches in the West Kootenay were filled with rain as well as desperate challenges, headers, free kicks, goals and shootouts as teams vied for Kootenay supremacy and a clear shot at the provincial championships.
The Kootenay South Youth Soccer Association (KSYS) kicked-off its regional championship playoffs last weekend, and despite numerous thunder showers the competition was fierce, as KSYS Select teams battled it out with Nelson and Cranbrook teams.
The Kootenay South U-15 girls were the bright spot on the weekend as they defeated Cranbrook 4-2 then tied them 1-1 in Cranbrook, taking the home-and-home series and advancing to the B.C.’s.
In U-13 boys, the KSYS team tied Nelson in the opener 1-1 and went on to beat Cranbrook 5-0. However, Nelson also defeated Cranbrook by an identical score so with goals for and against all tied, the two teams went to a shootout to decide the champion.
When the ball settled, Nelson claimed a 3-2 victory.
The U-13 girls also faced a tough Nelson team, losing 2-0 in the first game before taking out Cranbrook 2-nil.
“Nelson was dominant on us from the first whistle,” said coach Gordon Matson.
“We managed to absorb the pressure in the first half, but two second half goals put us away.”
The U-17 girls faced a similar fate at the feet of the formidable Nelson foe, losing their first game 2-1.
KSYS then needed to win their second game by two goals to advance.
In the first half, Nelson opened the scoring before KSYS captain Kirsten Flynn fired a penalty kick past the Nelson goalie to tie the game at one. Nelson then quickly countered to go up 2-1.
But the Kootenay South side’s chances improved after a Nelson defender received a red card, forcing them to play with only 10 players.
Before the end of the half, a brilliant free kick from KSYS mid-fielder Brenna McKay from 30-yards out, settled in the top corner of Nelson’s net to deadlock the score at two.
But KSYS could not capitalize on the extra-man advantage and the Nelson side struck for three unanswered goals in the second half for a decisive 5-2 win.
“The team was disappointed to lose after beating Nelson for five consecutive years, but this year it was not meant to be,” said coach Mary McEwan.
In other groups, the KSYS U-14 Girls finished third with Cranbrook advancing, while Nelson advanced in U-14 and U-15 boys.