The Williams Lake Girls U16 Storm became the first youth soccer team from Williams Lake to win a provincial cup since 1987. The Storm defeated the Ladner Vipers in the final

The Williams Lake Girls U16 Storm became the first youth soccer team from Williams Lake to win a provincial cup since 1987. The Storm defeated the Ladner Vipers in the final

Williams Lake U16 Storm win Provincial Cup

The U16 Williams Lake Girls Storm, for at least the next 365 days, can call themselves the best in the province.

The U16 Williams Lake Girls Storm, for at least the next 365 days, can call themselves the best in the province.

The girls outshone seven other teams from around B.C., winning the final in spectacular fashion, to become the Girls Provincial ‘B’ Cup champions at the Inter-River Park in North Vancouver last week.

“This group of girls has been together for two years, and we have always had this goal in the back of our minds,” said Storm coach Nick Iachetta. “This win is a testament to their dedication and hard work, and is a sign of things to come for Williams Lake.”

Broken into two groups of four for round robin play, Williams Lake — qualifying from Cariboo North — was drawn in group ‘B’ with Coastal qualifiers CMFSC Black Ice (Coquitlam), Vancouver Island qualifiers Prospect Lake Lakers and Columbia-Kootenays qualifiers, the Nelson Selects. The tournament was held over four days between July 4-7.

The tournament began last Thursday for the Storm with a tough loss to Prospect Lake Lakers, when Williams Lake went down 2-0 in the first 10 minutes of the game after a slow start. Despite dominating possession for the next 70 minutes, Williams Lake were unable to get more than one goal back — midfielder Kara Zurak converted a penalty kick after being fouled in the box — finishing the game with a 2-1 loss.

Knowing this now made both their remaining games must-wins to have a chance at the title, Williams Lake emerged the victors after a hard-earned result against a strong Nelson Selects team Friday. Striker Dawn Henley scored both goals in the match.

After Prospect Lake and Nelson Selects tied their match Saturday morning, Williams Lake now had the power to make the finals in their own hands. After an early goal from Henley, the Storm buckled down on defence and, with an outstanding effort from goalkeeper Sam Delacherois, came through with a 1-0 win against CMFSC Black Ice.

Only the second Williams Lake team to qualify for a final at a Provincial Cup since 1987, the Storm drew the Ladner Vipers in the final, who had qualified from group ‘A,’ going undefeated in the process.

Kicking off at 2 p.m., the final drew a large crowd of supporters who lined the pitch for the beautiful, Vancouver day. Two very evenly-matched teams played to a 0-0 tie at half, both building from the back with solid defensive play.

Williams Lake, with a back line of Madison Hordiuk, Natasha Lewis, Morgan Lord and Cassie Abel, had been solid all weekend, protecting keeper Delacherois, and allowing a joint-tournament-low of two goals against in the previous three matches.

After the restart, the game continued to be ground out in the midfield — central players Morgan Schofield, Ashleigh Lyons and Carly Magnuson battling for possession with the Ladner players.

There were opportunities for both teams early — Ladner hit a post, and Williams Lake forced two big saves from the Ladner keeper — while wingers Kendall Jensen, Lexi Pedersen, Cheyanne Stuart and Zurak worked off playmakers Jasmine Baye and Carleigh Walters.

Despite their chances to go ahead Williams Lake were unable to capitalize on the good work of strikers Henley and Teneal Schick, and Ladner capitalized on a chance against the run play with 15 minutes left in the game, firing a blast low past Williams Lake’s keeper.

Knowing it was gut-check time, coach Iachetta instantly made a formation change, bringing off a defender for an extra forward. Taking over the game and creating chances, Williams Lake was fighting the clock as a resilient Ladner defense bent, but wouldn’t break.

With less than five minutes left the Williams Lake coaching team of Iachetta, Luke Moger, Brenda Mann and Trevor Schick threw another forward in the mix, knowing it was all-or-nothing at that point.

After a foul by Ladner just over the half-line, the referee let both teams know there was under a minute left in the game.

Eryn Ritchat-Fontaine then confidently stepped up to the ball and drove a perfect feed into the Ladner box, creating a goal-mouth scramble converted by in-form striker Henley.

As the Williams Lake players, coaches and supporters celebrated the dramatic equalizer, the referee blew the whistle, confirming the kick had been the last play of the game, which was now headed to overtime.

Playing for the fourth time in four days, the 20-minute extra time was an exhibition of mind over matter — the girls battling through injury and fatigue in pursuit of victory. With Ladner and Williams Lake both knowing a mistake at this point would mean the provincial title, the extra time produced little in the way of chances as both teams played it safe.

Extra time solved nothing, and the game was sent to penalty kicks.

After a huge save on the first shooter by Delacherois, Williams Lake held the edge. And after the teams matched the first three penalty kicks, Baye gave the Ladner keeper no chance with a shot into the left sidenetting.

With Williams Lake up 1-0 in the penalty shootout it was Delacherois proving the decisive factor, once again, as she kicked out a leg after diving the right way on the fifth Ladner shooter, clinching the game for Williams Lake.

With her teammates running to celebrate with her, led by injured Ashley Straza, the emotions were obvious as the accomplishment of the team began to sink in.

Mann said it was a special moment to be a part of.

“The girls did this for each other,” Mann said. “They are such a tight-knit group and refused to let each other down. Watching them over the weekend makes me proud to be associated with the team and with Williams Lake.”

Tournament MVP and team captain Schofield led the team to the main stage for the medal presentation and the handing over of the cup.

Moger echoed Mann’s sentiments, adding it’s a significant accomplishment for a team from Williams Lake to win a provincial cup. He added a special thanks is in order to all the friends and family who made the trip to Vancouver to support the girls, and to team manager Shirlie Delacherois.

“It’s pretty special,” Moger said. “The girls have gone up against the best in the province of B.C. and won — they are the champions. They are such a special group of girls and parents and supporters; they have earned their place in Williams Lake history.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)
MLA’s CORNER: Premier Horgan needs to work harder

There are lots of people out there who are in desperate need of assistance

The first Chimney Creek Roadhouse, constructed in 1864. (Photo courtesy of the B.C. Provincial Archives)
HAPHAZARD HISTORY: The Isnardy family of Williams Lake

Amadee Isnardy was born in 1840 near Nice, France

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.
FOREST INK: Ecological economics not a popular topic for most people

The following is a review of the no (or slow) growth concept

Do you have a letter? Email us at
LETTER: BC Liberals left ICBC a mess: Farnworth

Our BC NDP government has worked tirelessly to fix the mess that was left behind

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read