Just a couple of weeks after they finished high school exams, Stettler’s under-18 girls wrote history Sunday.
“The U18 girls did an awesome job this year,” co-coach Shelley Davis-Hall said after host Stettler’s silver-medal performance in the provincial Tier 4 rural soccer championship.
“It’s the first girls’ team from Stettler to win a provincial medal.
“I can’t say much as a coach, because it’s the girls that do all the work. But both Dave (co-coach Dittrick) and I are very proud of them.”
In the gold-medal game, Stettler lost 4-1 to a familiar opponent in Lacombe, which also defeated Stettler in the provincial qualifier and in the Central Alberta Soccer Association final.
“We’ve played them a few times this year,” Davis-Hall said with a smile before the medal presentations at West Stettler Park.
“We just didn’t get any bounces today. We’ve had very, very good games with them. Both teams are very competitive — a lot of fun.”
The Lacombe under-18 girls, including Stettler’s Ashley Nelson, were part of a golden Sunday for the Lacombe association.
The Lacombe under-16 boys won their provincials in Stettler and Lacombe’s under-18 boys were victories on their home turf.
“CASA representatives have been awesome throughout all the divisions,” said Davis-Hall, noting bronze-medal finishes for the Stettler under-12 boys (in Three Hills) and under-18 boys (in Lacombe).
In the eight-team under-18 girls’ tournament at Stettler, Cold Lake edged Edson 3-2 in an extended bronze-medal game. That contest delayed the medal presentations, so the Stettler and Lacombe entourages hung around the park for more than an hour longer than anticipated Sunday afternoon.
“The girls played their hearts out,” said Davis-Hall, whose daughter Breanna plays with Stettler. “They’re all hurting — they’ll all be soaking in the bathtub tonight.”
One of the hardest-working Stettler players was 16-year-old keeper Jillian Broemeling, a call-up who kept the score within striking range.
“Jill played outstanding,” said coach Davis-Hall. “She has been playing off and on with me since U14, kind of every second year. I’m very familiar with her. She came and played for me last year in Tier 3 with the U16s. She’ll be on this team (under-18) next year.”
Alisha Coules scored Stettler’s lone goal in the final, after netting a hat trick Saturday evening in a 3-2 comeback win over St. Paul.
“We were down 2-1 with 10 minutes left,” Davis-Hall replayed. “Alisha got taken out in the box, and she scored on the penalty shot, so then we were tied 2-2. Less than five minutes later, she scored her third goal for the hat trick, which brought us to the gold-medal game.”
A tie in the St. Paul game would have been enough to send Stettler to the gold-medal game. The victory gave Stettler three wins in as many round-robin games, including a 3-1 win over Carstairs on Friday and a 4-1 decision against Smoky Lake on Saturday.
Stettler and Lacombe each won their respective pools with 3-0 records. Lacombe toppled Thorsby 9-2, Sherwood Park 5-1 and Edson 6-0.
Celine DeWit and Sierra Lyons each scored two goals for Lacombe in the gold-medal game.
In its opening win over Carstairs, Stettler got goals from Coules, Georgie England and Jessica Doval.
Coules and England each tallied twice in Stettler’s victory over Smoky Lake.
It was an emotional day for Smoky Lake, which learned immediately after that game that 16-year-old teammate Stefanie Dick had died in a pickup truck crash near her hometown.
Smoky Lake persevered and played the balance of the tournament, edging Sherwood Park 5-4 in the seventh-place game Sunday.
In the fifth-place contest, Carstairs beat Thorsby 3-1.