Okanagan Challenge keeper Michael Sheridan (left) and teammate Dustin Luck battle a Surrey United opponent Sunday in Cloverdale in Pacific Coast Soccer League action.

Okanagan Challenge keeper Michael Sheridan (left) and teammate Dustin Luck battle a Surrey United opponent Sunday in Cloverdale in Pacific Coast Soccer League action.

Challenge make push for PCSL playoff spot

Okanagan will host Victoria and Khalsa this weekend

Each and every point will be a hot commodity as the Okanagan Challenge head into the final three weeks of the Pacific Coast League regular season.

With four games remaining, the Challenge (3-4-1) are currently in fifth spot, three points back of the Khalsa Sporting Club.

The top four teams will make it into the PCSL championship tournament—the Challenge Cup on July 23 and 24 in Penticton.

Working in the Challenge’s favour is the fact that all four games are at the friendly confines of Kelowna’s Apple Bowl.

On Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Victoria United will come calling, followed by a visit from Khalsa on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.

The Challenge will then host the Mid Isle Highlanders July 10, before closing out the 2011 regular campaign July 16 vs. the Kamloops Excel.

“If we can go 3-and-1, that would probably keep us safe and be enough to get into a playoff position,” said Challenge head coach Kelly Wolverton. “I think it’s doable but at the same time, those teams are all going to be tough. Each game is very important.

“We’ve had some close games this year,” he added, “and with a goal or break here or there we could easily be close to the top of the table. There’s not much separating teams. But this is where we are and we’ll have to play well to earn some points over the last four games.”

The Challenge is coming off back-to-back weekends on the road. Okanagan swept a pair on the Island on June 10 and 11. Last weekend, the Challenge lost 6-0 to the Vancouver Thunderbirds Saturday, then played Surrey United to a 2-2 draw on Sunday.

David Hill and Justin Wallace scored the goals against Surrey.

“Against Vancouver, they played very well and we didn’t play like we could, so that was the difference,” said Wolverton. “The next day the guys responded very well, being on the road and coming back less than 24 hours later to play the way they did was great to see.”

The Challenge hoped they’ve saved their best soccer for last. Wolverton said not having to travel again for the rest of the regular season should benefit his club.

“After two weekends on the road, this will be a welcome change for the guys to be able stay right here at home for the next few weeks, especially if the weather is nice. The atmosphere is good and they guys like playing here.”

IN PCSL women’s action this weekend, Okanagan FC will host North Shore Saturday, 4 p.m. at UBCO.

The Okanagan Reserve men host Victoria United at 6 p.m. at UBCO.

In PCSL reserve women’s play, Kelowna United will visit West Van and North Shore this weekend.

whenderson@kelownacapnews.com

 

 

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