A pair of Kelowna United teams finished the 2018 season in style, winning their respective B.C. soccer championships.
The United U17 boys struck gold at the Les Sinnott Memorial Provincial Cup in Burnaby, while the Kelowna U14 girls claimed top prize at the Provincial B Cup in Kamloops.
In all, United teams picked up four medals over the weekend at the provincial championships.
Here’s a look at how Kelowna teams fared:
• United U17 boys—gold
From the season’s opening kick off, Kelowna’s U17 squad was confident it had all the tools to challenge for a B.C. title.
On Sunday in Burnaby, the United boys realized their potential by claiming the Provincial B Cup soccer championship.
In dramatic fashion, Kelowna needed late goals in both regulation and overtime, then penalty kicks to edge Vancouver United FC 3-2 in the gold medal game.
“We had a strong team and believed from the start we could compete with the best teams in the province,” said United assistant coach Stuart Wright. “A lot of the boys have been together four or five years, so they’re effective as a unit. The strength is in our attack, we have three or four forwards who can score and most teams don’t have that.”
In the final against VUFC, United showed its resiliency, rebounding twice from one-goal deficits.
First, Shawn Kostiuk scored late in regulation to force overtime. Chris Van Den Heuvel then connected in the final minute of extra time and the teams were off to a shootout.
After Parm Parmar, Thomas Jaklis and Jonah Donahue scored for Kelowna on penalty kicks, Tallan Freh made a stellar save against VUFC’s fourth shooter to give United the upper hand. Shawn Kostiuk then slotted the game winner for the B.C. title and the celebration was on.
“It was a big game and the guys came through with a big win,” said Wright. “The boys deserved it, they worked hard all season. It’s tough for interior teams competing against Lower Mainland teams just with the numbers of players they have to choose from, but our team proved it deserved to be there.”
The United U17s also became the first Kelowna team to win a U17 provincial B title, a distinction that head coach Kelly Sherman said the team should be proud of.
“It’s awesome,” said Sherman. “They worked hard for this and it’s well-deserved.”
United opened the tournament with a 4-4 tie against CCB Akal, then added wins over SMBC United (5-0) and the NVF Surge (1-0) to earn a spot in the final.
It's been a busy weekend of Provincial Cup play for KU and KU Jr Heat Teams. Well done to all 12 of our teams on representing KU and the region at the provincials! Congratulations to the following medal and award winners! pic.twitter.com/6Vhld6idNV
— Kelowna United FC (@KelownaUnited) July 9, 2018
• United U14 girls—gold
The Kelowna United Storm went a perfect 4-0 in Kamloops to lay claim to the Provincial B Cup.
United, also the TOYSL champs, secured the title Sunday with a 3-1 victory over the North Shore Interceptors.
After a scoreless first half, the teams traded goals early in the second half to make it a 1-1 game.
With about 15 minutes remaining, Kelowna scored to take the lead for good, then added some insurance with another goal from a goal-mouth scramble off a superb corner from Kristiansen Yeulett.
KU opened the weekend with a convincing 4-1 victory over Williams Lake.
In their second game, it was a tougher challenge from from Cowichan Valley, before Kelowna emerged with a 2-1 win.
The United girls then made it 3-for-3 with a 2-0 verdict over Vancouver Athletic Venom, sending Kelowna on to the final.
• United U16 boys—silver
In Burnaby, the United boys fell just one goal short of a provincial title, losing 1-0 in overtime in the final to Greater Vancouver United.
Kelowna opened with a 3-0 win over Nelson, with two goals coming from Brett Martin.
In Game 2, Josh Clancy score all four Kelowna markers in a 4-0 win over the Prince George Timberwolves.
United then played to a 2-2 draw with the Terrace to advance to the final.
The U16 boys will now prepare for a trip to Gothenburg, Sweden to play in the Youth World Cup.
• United U16 girls—bronze
The KU girls brought home the bronze medal from Kamloops, defeating the Nelson Selects in the third-place game of the Provincial B Cup.
In the opening game, despite dominating play, striking four posts and having two goals called back, United had to settle for a 2-2 tie with Juan de Fuca.
Kelowna then rebounded in their second match with a 1-nil victory over Surrey.
In their third game, with first place and a trip to the final on the line, United took on their Thompson/Okanagan rivals from Kamloops. In a hard-fought battle, the teams played to a 1-1 draw. Due the tournament’s tie-breaking procedures, Kamloops moved onto the gold medal game.
United moved on to the third-place game where they defeated the Nelson Selects to claim the bronze medal.
Chloe Howe, Payton Ward and Macalle White scored the goals for KU, with assists going to Sophia Millikin and Lindsay Notte.
Fair play awards… Four Kelowna teams won the Fair Play Awards at provincials—the KU U14 girls and U18 boys, and the KU/Jr. Heat U13 boys and U13 girls.