The Lake City Secondary Falcons senior boys’ soccer team came away with the bronze medals at the eight-team Hope Invitational Tournament last weekend. The tournament was cancelled the night prior due to smoke and air quality issues, but Friday morning saw much bluer skies and the coaches decided the tournament could go on.
Due to low availability for the tournament the Falcons were boosted by the addition of some key players from Peter Skene Ogden Secondary in 100 Mile House to help fill out the roster. Coaches Sean Glanville and Steve Keller were very impressed with how well the boys performed and gutted it out, playing five games within a 27-hour span in smoky conditions.
“The boys gave a phenomenal effort and were right there to possibly win the tournament but lost by the slimmest of margins in a shootout to eventual champions, Clearwater,” said Glanville. “The team chemistry got better as the tournament went on, the boys represented their schools very well.”
The Falcons opened the tournament Friday afternoon with a 4-1 victory over Fort St. James Secondary with Matthew Keller pacing the offense with a pair of goals and Danton Enns and Jeremy Labelle adding singles.
In game two versus Desert Sands Secondary of Ashcroft the Lake City boys fell behind 2-0 in the first half. The Falcons were able to cut the deficit to 2-1 on a goal by Austin Ludwig but couldn’t come up with the equalizer. The loss left the boys in a must-win situation versus hosts Hope Secondary in their final round-robin game to advance to the semi finals.
In a tight checking game three it was Mion Kinugasa who scored on a blast from outside the 18-yard box late in the first half to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead. After some tense moments in the second half the Falcons were able to hold them off for the 1-0 win. Israel Mclelland earned the shutout in goal.
The 2-1 win-loss record placed the Falcons second in Pool A and set up a semi final date Saturday morning with Pool B winners Clearwater Secondary.
The Falcons were by far the better squad in the first half with constant pressure and were rewarded with a penalty shot which Kinugasa scored to put them ahead 1-0 at half time. In the second half, Clearwater flipped the script and put the pressure on the Falcons and scored the tying goal with just five minutes remaining.
The 1-1 draw meant the teams needed penalty kicks to determine the winner. Unfortunately, Lake City came out on the short end of a 4-3 score in the penalties and were relegated to the bronze medal game. Nelson Swann, Jeremy Labelle and Kinugasa all scored in the shootout for Lake City. Ashton Chretien had a great game in midfield despite the loss.
The Lake City boys took out their frustrations on their opponents from Merritt Secondary in the bronze medal game with a comprehensive 4-0 victory. Lee Koch moved up from his defensive position to score a pair of goals while Keller and Jensen Bauerosche also found the back of the net.
The defensive line consisting primarily of Logan Aird, Koch, Mohamed Omer, and Swann played extremely well all weekend only allowing four goals in five games. Mclelland earned his second shutout of the weekend and his third victory of the tournament. Bodi Bluda, Pavo Plavsic and Travis Runnalls rounded out the roster and made significant contributions to the Falcons third place showing. Koch and Kinugasa were named tournament all stars for their efforts over the weekend.