The Stettler U12 boys’ soccer team won the provincial gold medal over the weekend without conceding a single goal in the tournament.
The boys played a three-game round robin at the Lakeland, Vermilion tournament between July 10 and July 12 coming out victorious in their pool to play for gold against the winner of the other pool.
In their first game against Athabasca, U12 boys dominated the play, with Josh deGuzman scoring the lone goal, as Stettler goalkeeper Yannick Zondag kept sharp preventing any goals from the opponents.
U12 boys faced Vermilion in the their second game, with Josh deGuzman scoring the only goal once again.
Their final round robin fixture was against a previously undefeated team from Carbon, who played a strong game, keeping Stettler U12 boys on toes. And once again Josh deGuzman came good, scoring the goal for Stettler, the only goal in the game.
It was a confident Stettler team playing for gold against Edson, a team that had not lost a game this year.
From the outset the U12 boys controlled the game, although they were unable to score. The Edson goalkeeper was in top form as he made a number of brilliant saves.
This resulted in the game being goalless and led to a penalty shootout.
At this point the Stettler team was not at an advantage with the usual starters missing because of injuries and an unfortunate yellow card earlier in the game.
But Stettler goalkeeper Yannick Zondag stepped up to the plate and blocked the first kick from Edson, while Nathan Jefferies from Stettler successfully scored.
In the next shootout, as Edson scored, Stettler player Jacob Cottom was unable to net the ball.
Stettler and Edson were level once again.
As Frank Philipsen took the next shot for Stettler successfully, Zondag stood solid and took the next shot hard off his chest for the win as he blocked the final Edson goal.
The sterling performance that the U12 boys kept up all through the weekend finally paid off as they won gold, with the official score at 1-0 against Edson.
U18 girls bring home silver
The U18 girls also did well at the soccer provincials in Carstairs, as they kept up a resolute game throughout the weekend.
With challenging weather throughout the tournament and temperatures rising well above the normal, there were many injuries that plagued the team. But nothing deterred them.
“We are very proud of each and everyone of them,” said coach Alyssa McKinnon. “The girls did a good job and displayed a fantastic team spirit.”
Beating one of the top teams in the provincial qualifiers and winning four regular season games, the U18 girls really came together as a team.
In their first game Stettler beat Breton 4-0, with Nikyta Lachowsky and Nikki Smith scoring two goals each.
Stettler faced Hinton in their second game and won 2-0 as Kierstyn Greidanus and Lindsey McKinnon, each scored a goal.
In the third game, Nikyta Lachowsky scored two goals as Stettler won convincingly 2-0 against Cremona.
Playing for the gold, the U18 girls lost to Carstairs 2-1, as Nikyta Lachowsky came good once again scoring the only goal for Stettler.
U14 boys and girls play strong in spite of the heat
As Stettler hosted the U14 soccer provincials, teams from all over the county and province converged in town, transforming it into a vibrant soccer paradise.
Both Stettler U14 boys and girls played resolute games, although they were unable to place.
Stettler U14 boys started their provincials with a tie against Red Deer. In their second match they won against Athabasca 3-1, but in their third match they lost to Hinton 2-0. And in their final match, they beat Didsbury 5-4 in a penalty shootout.
Stettler U14 girls started their provincials with a 1-0 win against Thorsby. In the second game they defeated Athabasca 2-1, but lost the third against Olds, 5-1. The U14 girls did not have much luck in their last match against Bonnyville either, losing the game 2-0.