WL scoops bronze at Kamloops invitational

An 18-year tradition rolled on successfully over the B.C. Day long weekend for a team of Williams Lake soccer players.

An 18-year tradition rolled on successfully over the B.C. Day long weekend for a team of Williams Lake soccer players at the 23rd Annual Kamloops Invitational Soccer Tournament.

There, Williams Lake picked up a bronze medal in the women’s recreational ‘A’ division at the tournament, which features more than 100 teams annually and six men’s and six women’s divisions ranging from competitive open to recreational ‘C.’

In the bronze-medal match Williams Lake was paired up with Kamloops’ BW Spice, winning a tightly-contested 1-0 match.

Haylie Shoults picked up the winner after a nicely setup cross from Morgan Whitehouse.

“Our defense was strong and we allowed only a few shots on net,” said team organizer and goalkeeper Regan Ernst of the shutout.

Williams Lake began the tournament Saturday, Aug. 3 against the Calgary Eastside Athletics — winning 4-2. Goal scorers were Ashley Callander (2), Christina Meredith (1) and Cora Kelly (1). Ernst said keeper Caitlin Sabatino was fantastic in net.

“Our team was nervous at the beginning of the game as Calgary was young, fit and their coach was leading them in organized team warmups,” Ernst said. “They looked very daunting.”

In game two Saturday afternoon Williams Laked edged FC Magic Academy of Edmonton, 2-1. Scorers were Ashley and Shoults.

“They almost tied the game but the goal was called back offside with a lot of controversy,” Ernst said.

Williams Lake’s winning ways continued on Sunday against Ragazze United of Calgary.

“All we had to do was score two goals and we were through to the ‘A’ semifinal,” Ernst said.

Ragazze United scored first, leaving Williams Lake trailing by one at the half. Shoults scored first to tie it for Williams Lake, before Pilzek got a hold of one from 40 yards out for the game winner. Ashley scored later to ice the win at 3-1 for Williams Lake.

Sunday evening’s ‘A’ semifinal against Vancouver was a tougher match, Ernst said.

“We lost 2-1 in a shootout,” she said. “They were winning 1-0 at the half. Ashley tied it on a penalty shot, then we went to penalty kicks and their first three shooters scored and our first three shooters missed.”

She added the tournament is always a lot of fun and gives some former local talent a chance to reconnect with past teammates.

“It’s always a great time and our team brings back players that have at one time or another played in the Williams Lake Soccer League like Kelsey Callander, Morgan Whitehouse, Glenda Maclean, Lauren Pilzek, Angela Hay-Vicars and Niki Siddall.”