Strikers strike gold at soccer provincials
Sohanna Bains grew up playing soccer in Prince George and never in her career did her season end the way it did last Sunday in Burnaby.
Standing on the highest platform of the medal podium.
Bains and the Quesnel Strikers teamed up to win gold at the under-16 girls provincial B championship, defeating Kelowna United 3-1 in the final. Ruby Nicholas scored all three goals for the Strikers, including the winner about 10 minutes into the second half.
“That’s the first time in 30 years a Quesnel team has won a (provincial) title,” said Bains, the 15-year-old Strikers fullback.
Brityn Hinsche went the distance in goal for the Strikers, a team of players from Prince George, Quesnel, Williams Lake and Terrace.
The Strikers opened Friday with a scoreless tie with Shuswap FC 0-0, then beat Vernon United FC Electricity 5-0 and wrapped up first place in their pool with a 7-0 win over Burnaby Girls Soccer Club Stealth.
Fourteen of the 17 Strikers players trained together indoors from September to June at the Northern Sport Centre, working three or four times per week on skill development in the UNBC Girls Academy program with Timberwolves women’s team head coach Neil Sedgwick.
“That was a big factor, it was something new for all of us and we all learned together,” said Bains.
“This is one of the factors as to why our team bonds together so well and why our players are very technically and tactically good.
“The quality of training that we get from Neil is something the north has never seen before. We have learned a different style of play that works for our team and is a huge factor of our success.”
Bains said having the ability to play indoors
“The quality of training that we get from Neil (Sedgwick, coach) is something the north has never seen before. We have learned a different style of play that works for our team and is a huge factor of our success.
— Sohanna Bains, Strikers fullback
on the UNBC field turf is the only way they were able to compete with U-16 teams from the coast who have been playing on outdoor fields in leagues throughout the winter.
That also gave the girls a few opportunities to work out with the T-wolves varsity women’s team.
In the lead-up to the provincial tournament they had games against the Prince George U-17 and U-18 teams.
“We’re our only competition up here,” Bains said.
Bains is among nine Prince George Youth Soccer Association products on the Strikers, along with
Nancy Moore, Jordyn Williams, Claire Ramsey, Sydney Barlow, Olivia Wankling, Emma Axeworthy, Sarah Dereskavich and Margaret Caffery.
The team also includes Quesnel players Nicholas, Reese Jacobson, Emma Blair, Olivia Martins and Olivia Momer.
Hinche, the team captain, and Brooke Levens are from Williams Lake, while Quinn Kohlman is from Terrace.
Joanne Wankling, the T-wolves women’s team assistant coach, and Jim Nicholas of Quesnel, handled the Strikers’ coaching duties.
• Home field advantage certainly worked in favour of the Prince George Impact U-18 boys at the Les Sinnott Memorial provincial B championship at Rotary Field.
The Impact went undefeated in four games and capped the season with a 2-1 win Sunday over Guildford Athletic Club Dynamo in the bronze medal game.
• In the U-13 boys division, the Prince George Impact went 2-1 in round-robin play to finish second in the pool, then lost 2-1 in a the bronze-medal game to ThompsonOkanagan. The Impact B team finished 0-3. The U-15 Impact went 1-2.
The Quesnel Strikers are based in Quesnel but had a strong contingent of Prince George talent last weekend at the provincial B girls soccer championship in Burnaby. The Strikers defeated Kelowna United 2-1 in the gold-medal game on Sunday. Back row from left are: Jim Nicholas (coach), Ruby Nicholas, Sydney Barlow, Jordyn Williams, Nancy Moore, Quinn Kohlman, Reese Jacobson, Brooke Levens and Joanne Wankling (coach); front row: Emma Blair, Olivia Wankling, Brityn Hinsche (captain), Sohanna Bains and Emma Axeworthy. Missing from photo are: Olivia Martins, Claire Ramsey, Sarah Dereskavich, Olivia Momer and Margaret Caffery.