Ponoka’s U16 Storm won the gold medal in the traditional Camrose Night Classic tournament over the weekend with four straight wins.
Follows the account of the tournament as submitted by head coach Gurjit Sandhu:
First game vs Whitecourt: Win 7-0
This game we had a little bit of trouble dealing with the forwards of the other team in the first 5-10 minutes, but goalkeeper Justin stood on his head and kept the score at 0-0. After we got ourselves organized and into the game, the boys dominated the possession of the ball and scored almost one after another.
Second game vs Hinton: Win 4-2
Against Hinton, we were very comfortable with holding onto the ball and passing around to create spaces and again dominated possession to the point where the other team was just chasing us around. It was some high level soccer. We were up 4-0 up until the last 5 minutes when Hinton scored a couple goals
Third game vs Provost: Win 17-0
The game vs Provost was over before it even started. We scored four goals in the first five minutes and just continued the domination throughout the game. Credit to the guys for not getting lazy and letting bad habits creep in their gameplay in a game like this.
Final vs Athabasca: Win 3-1
Athabasca was a very fast team that tried to play a lot of through balls for their fast forwards, but our defense and midfield were solid and prevented them. Their goalie made many saves to keep the game at 0-0 in the first half even though we again dominated possession and kept the ball in our attacking half. In the first few minutes of the second half, Athabasca took a shot from about 15 yards from half near the sideline, which caught our whole team by surprise and was impossible for goalkeeper to save. This gave them momentum and deflated us for the next 10 minutes. They pressured us hard and there was even a save by a defender on the goal line. But we made a couple changes after we saw the huge gap between their forwards and defenders and our players took advantage of this and we tied it up by a goal from Markus Baitinger with about 10 minutes left. About five minutes later Lewis McDowell went in on a breakaway and finished it and gave us the lead. The game was put away in the dying seconds by Jarret Henderson to make it 3-1 and give us the gold medal.
(Coach) Cam and I are extremely proud of the boys. Their work ethic, skill level, and desire to win was unmatched by any of the teams we played against. There were many parents, coaches and even spectators that came and gave us compliments on how well the boys played throughout the weekend. We will now work hard this week for the upcoming provincial qualifiers.”
U-16 Storm has been spending this week to prepare for the provincial qualifiers scheduled to take place in Lacombe on Friday and Saturday, June 20 and 21.