KSS Owls better Bears in valley girls soccer final

Courtney Hemmerling of the Kelowna Owls pressures Mt. Boucherie
Courtney Hemmerling of the Kelowna Owls pressures Mt. Boucherie's Emina Arima, with Owls teammates Megan Witala (left to right), Morgan Hughes and Aspen Percival following up during the Okanagan Valley senior girls soccer final Thursday at the Apple Bowl.
— image credit: Douglas Farrow/Contributor

When it counted most, the Kelowna Owls delivered the goods against the Mt. Boucherie Bears.

After losing the previous two meetings between the two rivals, KSS defeated the Bears 3-1 Thursday at the Apple Bowl to win the Okanagan Valley senior AAA girls high school soccer title.

Megan Witala scored for the Owls just over a minute into the game to put the Bears in a hole early. Courtney Hemmerling added another goal at the 25-minute mark, then Savannah Gellner made it 3-0 five minutes later to essentially put the game out of reach.

Boucherie scored the lone goal in the second half, but the damage had been done as the Owls downed the Bears for the first time in three tries this season.

"We knew if we stuck to our game plan, played the way we had been playing the past few games, it was a matter of time before we found a way to be successful against them," said Owls coach Arnar Bernhardsson. "I don't think I expected we'd score three in the first half but we just made the best of all of our opportunities."

Bernhardsson said the Owls made the necessary adjustments to shut down the Bears' top players, including UBC Okanagan Heat recruit Haylee Lakovic.

"We did out best Haylee to get off her game and that meant the rest had to do all the work," Bernhardsson said. "We have a lot a depth, a lot of people have contributed all season and that was evident again on Thursday."

It was the Bears' lone defeat in Okanagan Valley league or playoff action this season.

Nevertheless, head coach Adrian Zuyderduyn was pleased with his team's effort in the valley final and the season in general.

"While we didn't achieve the result that we'd hoped, we played hard," said Zuyderduyn. "Kudos to KSS for having an effective plan that put a damper on our attack—we had our chances but couldn't finish.  However, they found the time and space and finished theirs. They should represent the Okanagan well at this year's provincials.  Overall, we had a very successful season."

The Owls will represent at valley at the B.C. School Sports girls AAA championship, May 30 to June 1 in North Vancouver.

KSS, which has won six valley titles, last competed at provincials in 2011 when they played seventh.

The Owls last win the B.C. title in 2006 in Kelowna.


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