Williams Lake U14 girls coach Vanessa Hansen (back from left)

Williams Lake U14 girls coach Vanessa Hansen (back from left)

Teams land provincial soccer berths

Three Williams Lake soccer teams kicked in the competition at their respective BC Soccer North Zone Championships last weekend.

Three Williams Lake soccer teams kicked in the competition at their respective BC Soccer North Zone Championships last weekend.

The Williams Lake U14 girls and the Williams Lake U14 boys both earned gold medals at the  Prince George tournament, while the Williams Lake U16 girls finished with a silver medal in their division. As a result, all three teams will compete at the upcoming provincial championships.

Williams Lake U14 girls coach Vanessa Hansen said the team’s recent practice regiment seemed to pay off leading to the championship.

“I knew the girls would do well, but I was a bit worried about our ability to score,” Hansen said. “They did a lot of shooting in all our practices leading up to zones and it seemed to pay off as they scored 16 goals over their three games.”

The team hammered Terrace, 8-1, dominated Bulkley Valley, 4-1, and edged Prince George, 2-1 in a hard-fought affair, to win the gold medal. They will now travel to Nelson July 9-12 for the provincial championships.

“Our goalkeepers played solid all weekend, defenders were aggressive and smart, our midfielders hustled and made some beautiful plays and strikers found the back of the net in every game,” Hansen said. “Every girl battled until the final whistle and I’m so proud of all of them and can’t wait to see what else they accomplish this year.”

On the U14 boys side Williams Lake opened with a 1-1 tie against Terrace, defeated Prince Rupert, 3-1, then downed Prince George, 2-1, to advance to provincials July 9-12 in 100 Mile House.

Logan Hutchinson, Jacob Helminger, Mitchell Blusson and Mokam Mahil provided Williams Lake’s offensive punch at the tournament.

U14 boys head coach Rob Tazelaar noted a tremendous effort from his players.

“We started slow in our first game … [but] carried much of the play in all three games,” Tazelaar said. “We had trouble finishing our chances. The few mistakes we did make were of our own making but once the boys got rolling they were dominant.”

He said Mahil, Hutchinson and Helminger were excellent on the offensive side of the ball, while Taki Faubert, Jack Zavitz, Cole Turner, Dayton Smith-Hall, Sam Thiessen and Jared Brown were flawless on the back end.

“The boys were fun to watch as many of the comments from opposing coaches were directed at how well the boys moved the ball with their fluid passing and breaking down of the other side’s defence,” Tazelaar said.

The Williams Lake U16 girls, meanwhile, lost only to Prince George’s ‘A’ team, 2-0, but advanced to provincials in Penticton as the second-place team in the zone.

On the Williams Lake U17 and U18 side, the U17 boys and the U18 girls were the only teams in the North Zone to declare in their age group and will both get a bye to provincials.