The Similkameen Elementary/Secondary School Sparks represented the community well at the B.C. School Sports senior A girls’ provincial soccer tournament last weekend.
“We finished fifth in the province and were the top public school, which is something we are always proud of,” said coach Mario Carelse. “All the girls represented the school and the community really well and it was a fun way to end off the year.”
The Sparks finished fifth overall, winning four out of their five matches. In their opening game, against Burns Lake, the Sparks won 2-1. They then blanked the host Nakusp 1-0, only to face a strong South Ridge team that defeated the Sparks 5-0.
Carelse said the Sparks didn’t let the loss get them down as they finished second in their pool, which meant they had to face the second-place team in the other pool during the playoff round. Deadlocked with no score after extra time, the game went to penalty kicks.
“It was a very tense game, and it was the exact same thing that happened the last time we met Kelowna Christian. Once again, we topped them in the shootout,” said Carelse.
Scoring the penalty kick winners was Zoe Vriends, Amy Leduc, Sofia Zebroff and Josie Hillman. Sparks goalkeeper Hannah Shore made two out of four saves.
The win pushed the Sparks into the fifth and sixth placement game where they faced Fort St. John, defeating them 5-0. Vriends, Grade 11, was the Sparks most valuable player during the tournament, earning a spot on the commissioner’s 11 — where one player from each team was chosen as the MVP.
“Zoe is like a horse, she just doesn’t stop. She also plays our most important position at centre-midfield and she just keeps going all game. She is a great scorer, passer, plays through injuries, is a good teammate, has a positive attitude and just a fun all-around kid to have on the team,” said Carelse.
The Sparks had three Grade 12 players on the squad, which Carelse said puts them in a good position to have another strong team next season if all the players return.
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