By Michelle Blanchette
For the News
Ponoka’s competitive soccer teams participated in the Annual Night Classic Tournament in Camrose, June 13 to 15. Each team was treated to the thrill of playing ‘under the lights’, with games beginning anywhere from 9:30 p.m. to as late as midnight.
The U16 Girls finished first in their pool through round robin play and brought home the silver medal.
The U14 Boys squad played in the bronze medal game but were defeated. The U12 boys lost all three games in round robin but were very closely matched and had lost of fun. United, Ponoka U16 boys squad had a tough pool. They won their first game, but were defeated twice in close games to finish fifth overall. Ponoka’s U12 girls lost their first game, won the second and lost the third to finish tied for fifth place.
Next up for the competitive teams was the provincial qualifiers tournament hosted this year by Rimbey’s Soccer Association. Dry Ice, the Ponoka U12 girls amazed everyone by advancing to the finals after beginning the weekend seeded fifth. The girls won their first pool game Saturday, and then played their second game 8 a.m. Sunday morning in the pouring rain, winning again. This put the girls in the semi-finals, which was played at noon in a torrential downpour. Success came again for the girls, as they defeated Camrose One by a 2-1 margin. The weather cleared and the final game began at 3:30 p.m. against Camrose Two. Three games in eight hours proved to be too much for these kids, and they were defeated, but left the field thrilled with their accomplishments. The U16 girls finished first in their pool and played Lacombe in a crossover. The game went to a shootout, which these girls had never experienced before. Emily Jensen did an awesome job in goal and after five shots, it was again a tie score. Lacombe scored on the next shot and the girls ended up in third place overall. Ponoka’s U14 girls played hard, but were defeated in both games in their pool. The U12 boys lost one and tied one, ending their season with a very exciting game! Our U16 boys won their first game and lost the second game to a tough Stettler team. They finished in third place, moving them up from their seeded position at the start of the tournament.
This was a tremendous building year for our competitive squads. These kids have acted as fantastic ambassadors for Ponoka and for the game of soccer as well. Our season is now officially over – the kids are looking forward to playing drop-in soccer until the snow flies. They usually play at least once a week.