There were a few ‘storms’ that were not going to be denied over the weekend.
The first one was a huge thunderstorm on Saturday night, while the other two were clubs from the Ponoka Storm minor soccer association.
Ponoka’s Under-13 boys squad as well as the Under-17 girls club will be representing the Central Alberta Soccer Association (CASA) at the Alberta Soccer Association provincials in a few weeks. The boys are in Carstairs for the Rural Tier IV Provincials, while the girls will head to Camrose for their tournament.
For the boys, the team got off to a great start June 23 with an 8-1 win over Blackfalds then getting past the Lacombe VanderHeide club 4-3 in the quarter finals that afternoon. The team came through the semi-final the next morning, taking the game over Camrose on penalty kicks after the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
As for the final that afternoon, Ponoka, and Lacombe’s Dunlap squad went through full time without any goals, leaving it up to penalties to decide the winner with Ponoka coming out on top.
Storm head coach Brad Normandeau was pleased to get by the first Lacombe squad, as his club saw the lead vanish not long after the host side scored.
“With a minute to go, Brayden Lubach completed his trick by scoring the winner,” he said.
“We then scored first against Camrose, and so under the tournament rules, we went straight to penalties.”
Normandeau noted his goalie came up with a pair of saves to secure the win 4-3 on penalty kicks, which put them into the final that wound up as another defensive struggle.
“Our defensive crew held Lacombe to one shot the entire match, then on penalties we got a stop and one shot sent over the net before one of our players buried the final shot for the victory,” he added.
On the U17 girls side, Camrose was already assured a spot as the provincial hosts, so the round robin was all about the second berth and the Storm managed to catch first in the qualifier.
The club got that position on goal differential, posting victories over Stettler (5-1) and Rocky Mountain House (2-0) before getting a scoreless draw with Camrose.
The other CASA squads moving onto the provincials were: U13 girls Stettler, U15 girls Stettler (and host Camrose), U15 boys Camrose, and U17 boys Camrose and Stettler.
For CASA executive director Tammy Olson, the weekend went well despite some changes due to inclement weather.
“As always, the Ponoka Storm Soccer Club are amazing hosts. The board and registrar step up to the plate assisting in every way,” she said. “CASA loves hosting soccer events in Ponoka and the facilities are great as well.”