Back-to-back valley soccer titles for KSS Owls
From the season's opening kick off, the KSS Owls' primary goal was to make a return trip to the B.C. high school girls AAA soccer championship.
Consider it mission accomplished for the Owls who downed the rival Mt. Boucherie Bears 2-1 in the overtime Thursday to capture the Okanagan Valley title for the second year straight spring.
Despite less than ideal field conditions at Boucherie, the Owls prevailed over their longtime foes, scoring the game winner just over two minutes remaining in the second extra period.
Brianne Mapson converted a cross by Morgan Hughes to push KSS to victory, boosting the Owls into the provincial tournament next week in Vancouver.
"I think our girls just wanted it a little bit more," said Owls coach Arnar Bernhardsson. "I think maybe we have a little bit better of a skill set, but because the field was in poor shape we weren't really able to showcase that as much.
"Boucherie is a good team, but we stuck to our game plan and managed to overcome the adversity to get the win."
The Owls opened the scoring at the 51-minute mark, as the Bears' keeper mishandled Lexi Percival's corner and the ball ended up in the back of the Boucherie net.
The Bears responded 10 minutes later on an Owls' defensive miscue, as junior Serena Boulter connected for Boucherie to tie the game 1-1, eventually sending the game to overtime.
After a conservative first extra session with few scoring chances for either side, the Owls came on the second extra stanza and clinched their second consecutive title on Mapson's goal.
It was just the second meeting of the year between the teams, as league-champion Boucherie had won the regular season matchup 2-1.
From the Bears' perspective, head coach Adrian Zuyderduyn was proud of the effort his team put forth against their longtime rivals.
"Both teams have some very athletic players, and our team had some strong performances from striker Serena Boulter (Grade 11), goalkeeper Kristzina Breti (Grade 11), defender Emina Arima (Grade 11), and midfielders Sydney Solland and Jacey McQueen (Grade 12s)," said Zuyderduyn. "The rivalry between these two teams always leads to very competitive games, and this one was no exception. Our girls competed hard."
Bernhardsson's Owls will represent the Okanagan at the B.C. School Sports AAA girls championship May 29 to 31 in Vancouver.
"Our goal (at provincials) is to try win our pool and go from there," said Bernhardsson. "If we play like we can, I think we have a good chance (to win a medal)."