The “lightning striketh” might be a good slogan for the U14 girls’ Ponoka Storm soccer team during a game against the Rocky Mountain House Knights last week.
They defeated the Knights 7-0 Wednesday, May 27 at home with a surrounding thunderstorm accompanying Ponoka’s quick passing plays. Both teams started relatively strong with Ponoka keeping possession much longer than the visitors.
Striker Leah Jensen scored the first goal for Ponoka about 20 minutes into the first half with a high kick over the Rocky goalie. Energized from the goal, Brooklyn Budd, helped secure a 2-0 lead about one minute later.
Coach Greg Bendera said the team is having a strong season with a record of 6-0-1 with their only tie game being against the Knights recently. “They are the second-most skilled team in the league in my opinion,” he said.
Rather than relax, Storm put on the pressure and were able to secure a third goal before the end of the first half. Emma Bendera shot a high cross that rebounded off the goal post. Ready for the rebound was Nicole Lagarde, who responded quickly to earn a goal.
Bendera says his team is getting better, playing tougher soccer and working hard during practices. They have been able to acquire the skills to make big cross passes to other players.
“We get control and we pass it up the field. I thought our passing was phenomenal,” said Bendera. “We played a great team game.”
Ponoka was ready for the second half and they kept the pressure on the Knights who made a goalie change. Ponoka Storm players were relentless in their desire for a win as they took shot after shot at the visitors’ net.
The Knights regrouped and managed take a few shots at Ponoka goal after making offensive line changes, but the home team also regrouped and adjusted their defensive strategy on the beleaguered Knights’ offense.
Bendera credited Storm’s Madison McLaren Shaelyn Goodwin for being a strong defensive duo, who keep the ball away from their net.
“We just keep pressing. We don’t give the ball away. We’re taught to pass,” explained Bendera.
Budd managed a hat trick after scoring two goals back to back in the second half. Jensen scored herself a second goal and number 5, Emily David, also scored a goal.
The team will be practicing next week in preparation for two games the week after against Camrose.
Other minor soccer results
U16 boys had their game against Rocky Mountain House cancelled on Tuesday, May 26 due to hail and wind which struck in the second half of the game and the two sides have yet to agree on a date for replay.
On Thursday, May 28, U16 boys delivered a crushing 9-1 blow to visiting Camrose in beautiful weather.
U12 girls for their part lost 5-0 to visiting Stettler girls on Thursday, May 28.