U18 United win Provincials in shootout

The Swift Current United U18 Girls won a second straight provincial championship July 2. SASKATCHEWAN SOCCER ASSOCIATION PHOTO

The host Swift Current United Under-18 Girls came out on top of a 20-player shootout to win a second straight Saskatchewan Soccer Association Soccer 4 Life Outdoor Youth Provincial Championship Sunday.

They weren’t at their best in their opener Friday but still defeated Yorkton United 3-0 in a rematch of last year’s provincial final. Ali Vance opened the scoring in the 12th minute with an outstanding solo effort. Goalkeeper Hannah Dyck allowed the team to reach halftime with the lead when she made a diving save on a penalty shot. Striker Lauryn Hayes punched home a goal early in the second half and then Vance netted her second goal of the game when she finished off a beautiful passing play from Ashley Eben.

The U18 girls clinched a bye into the championship match with a 4-0 win over Battleford United FC that evening. Vance led the attack with two goals, while Hayes and Shaylynn Nickel also scored. Rebecca Treen, Brooke Vallee, Cassidy Grimm, and Eben all collected assists, while Dyck earned a second straight shutout.

The United girls rematched with Yorkton in Sunday’s championship match and not much went their way during 50 scoreless minutes of regulation. Amy Neufeld had the best scoring chance but her blast from the corner of the penalty area slammed off the cross bar. The host team was whistled for a penalty shot in the opening overtime period but Dyck stopped a second straight shot from the penalty mark.

MJ Anderson (right) and the Swift Current United U18 Girls defeated Yorkton to win Provincials July 2.

The five-player shootout decided nothing after each team scored three goals, including two saves from Dyck. The two teams remained even through another eight shooters before Dyck made her sixth save and Nickel clinched gold with a calm shot into the corner.

The U18 girls also won a second straight Sportsmanship Award, as voted on by match officials throughout the tournament, marking the second straight year they have won Provincials and the Sportsmanship Award.