Thursday, May 22, 2014

U18 Soccer: Pincher hosts Elkford and Sparwood

Pincher Creek U18 team
T. Lucas photos
Toni Lucas

Pincher Creek's U18 soccer team had two back to back  home games this week on May 20 and 21, losing the first and winning the second.  Pincher Creek is the host of the U18 Tournament scheduled for Saturday June 14.

Pincher Creek vs Elkford

For their first game of the season, Pincher Creek's U18 Soccer team hosted Elkford on Tuesday May 20 at the Ag grounds field. Elkford came out strong, and ultimately won by a wide margin. It was a cool cloudy day that threatened rain from a looming cloud. The Elkford team took the lead and by the half was ahead 3 - 1. The Elkford team is confident on the pitch, often using their whole body to advance the ball.  Pincher did not score in the second half, and the score was 7 - 1 for Elkford at the final whistle.

Elkford's Logan and Pincher's Daria go for the ball

Keepers for the game included Austin Pittman and Liam Giddings for Pincher Creek and Brad Bridgewater and Jake Etherton for Elkford.

"This is the second year I've been with them, It is good to be with these guys again," said Elkford Coach Ray Christian. He shares coaching duties with two others each attending as their schedule allows for it. "We support each other. This is our second game, the first one was in Sparwood. We lost 5 - 3, and the kids were a little disappointing, but it was our first outing." He was happy with the improvement from one game to the next. "The first game, everyone was getting back into their groove, and finding their feet. Everyone is improving, everyone is remembering their positions, and how to play again."

"Unless you are the keeper, the only things that you can't use are your hands. We tell them, use all the parts of your body. Bundle that ball in. It doesn't matter how that ball goes in, so long as it goes into the net." Christian sees a lot of potential in his team. "I would like to see them push on from this, maybe a national team. Who knows? There is some real talent in our teams, and I would like to see that develop further. I would be happy to sometime see them on tv and say, 'Hey, I coached that guy'."

"This was the first game of the year, and we lost a game tonight, but it's the first time that a lot of these kids have played together, said Pincher Creek's Head Coach Jim Lamb who shares coaching duties with Tyler O'Rourke. "We have had a lot of practice, but we haven't actually played a game. There were some good things tonight, and some things we will have to learn from. Elkford had a good team tonight. They came with a lot of good players."

Pincher Creek vs Sparwood

Pincher Creek  hosted Sparwood at Sproule Field on Wednesday, May 21 for a U18 soccer game.  This was Pincher's second game of the season, having faced Elkford the previous evening.  This game proved to be a closer challenge and Pincher earned their first win of the season.

It was good weather and a good game of evenly matched teams.  Sparwood took it to the Pincher goal more often making Pincher defend their territory.  There was a lot of fast action between the two teams and some rough play that appeared to be mostly accidental.   At the half it was tied 1 - 1, and Pincher was victorious 3 - 2 at the end of the game.

Sparwood Keeper Matt O'Connor demonstrated some superior kicking skills, and Pincher Creek's two keepers Liam Giddings and Austin Pittman did a great job in goal.

"We started the beginning of May, so not too long," said U18 Sparwood Head Coach Cindi Thummerer about her team.  "They did very well. It was a good back and forth game, they played really well."  Thummerer said that this was the second game for the team making one win, one loss.    "We won the game against Elkford, 5 - 3"

Pincher and Sparwood fight for the ball

Pincher Coach Jim Lamb was happy with his team's performance. "We had three or four players that played the way they can tonight, last night they didn't so it was a totally different  game.  We had a bit of a session and talked about a few things, mistakes that they made last night.  They did not make those same mistakes tonight, and they were much better."

"It was a tight game," Lamb continued.  "They (Sparwood) are at the same level as we are.  They've got a couple of older players, second year players that are really good, and they have some kids that have just come up from U16's.  We're almost identical in that respect.  So it made for a pretty even game.  Anyone could have won that game."

Sparwood is scheduled to host Pincher on Monday, May 26.

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