Enzo Paal of the Okanagan Challenge gets his head on the ball in Pacific Coast Soccer League action against the Vancouver Thunderbirds Saturday night at the Apple Bowl.

Enzo Paal of the Okanagan Challenge gets his head on the ball in Pacific Coast Soccer League action against the Vancouver Thunderbirds Saturday night at the Apple Bowl.

Coach not discouraged by narrow losses

Challenge off to 1-3 start

Even with three consecutive losses up on the board, there isn’t much Kelly Wolverton would change about his Okanagan Challenge.

All three of their Pacific Coast Soccer League defeats have been by a single goal, a fate the head coach says doesn’t match the level of his club’s effort so far this season.

“I think we were good enough to win all those games, for sure,” said Wolverton who is in his rookie season as the club’s head coach. “That’s the nature of the game, you hope you get a couple of lucky breaks and when you don’t it can be pretty frustrating.

“At the same time it’s encouraging. The guys have played well, we know we can do it, it’s just a matter of finishing the chances we get.”

The Challenge came up short in their home-opening weekend, losing 1-0 on Saturday night at the Apple Bowl to the Vancouver Thunderbirds.

Sixteen hours later, Dustin Luck scored in the second half to pull the Challenge into a 1-1 draw, but Surrey United settled the issue Sunday with a goal in the dying minutes for a 2-1 win.

“Saturday, it was a hard-fought game, the guys gave it what they had and they were exhausted,” Wolverton added. “Then to come back the next day, in the heat of the day with the same attitude and hard work was pretty impressive. I just hope the guys don’t get deflated. I know they’re smart enough to know how the game works and if you keep pushing, you’ll get rewarded.”

The Challenge opened the season with a 2-0 win in Kamloops, but has since lost single-goal decisionsto Khalsa, the Thunderbirds and Surrey.

Part of the club’s downfall has come from a lack of scoring, but it’s not because the team hasn’t been generating of plenty of opportunities.

“If we keep creating those chances, they’re going to start going in,” Wolverton added. “As soon as it happens, I feel like this team is going to break loose.”

With a week off from PCSL action, the Challenge will host the Tasker Cup this Saturday afternoon, the club’s annual alumni game.

Wolverton said the break is welcomed by the Challenge who will play six games over the following three weekends. The Challenge will be on the Island June 11 and 12 to play Victoria and Mid Island.

whenderson@kelownacapnews.com

 

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