It was a clear sign of spring as girls soccer kicked off the first playday of the season at Chandler Park, Saturday morning.
Teams from Kitimat, Terrace, Hazelton and three from Smithers, all hit the pitch as they continue preparations for zones this weekend.
The Sr. Girl Gryphons were up first against Terrace attacking fast and pushing Terrace into their zone for most of the first half.
With some strong strikes and good positioning, the Gryphons were able to keep pressure on Terrace as they went into the second half 1-0. However, Terrace, being one of the tougher teams in the North, pursued and were able to respond with a goal midway through the second half, tying the game 1-1 as the first match of the day came to a close with an equal matched squad on both ends of the field.
“They’re understanding their positions, they’re playing well and they’re having fun and that’s the important thing,” said SSS coach Brent Irvine. “It’s going to be tough competition in Terrace because all three teams are pretty even.”
The Gryphon girls have been rebuilding, so to speak. After losing a number of veterans last year they now have a very young team. However, with more than four practices on the pitch the team has started to come together.
“I think we played well as a team,” said team captain Brooke Hackle.
“We were passing a lot more and we’re just getting ready for zones so we’re getting everyone prepared and just connecting better.”
The Gryphons went on to beat Kitimat in their second game of the day 2-0.
The BVCS Royals were also battling it out Saturday taking on the Gryphon girls B Team, dominating the inexperienced Gryphons as they tried to find their footing.
“We did pretty well today,” said head coach Veronica Major. “The final score was 5-0 so that was nice and the ball was in their end most of the time, so that was good.”
Although the late winter didn’t allow use of the fields until recently, teams are finally able to catch up and work out the kinks before heading to zones against some teams who are much more practiced than here in the Bulkley Valley.
“We haven’t really played together much so just learning how to play together is a priority because we only have a few more games until zones. So we’re just trying to find chemistry among the teammates,” said Major.
Although the Gryphon girls B Team did struggle throughout the day, they made some good progress and came one step closer to realizing their potential as a working team.
“We’ve been doing pretty good as it’s their first tournament,” said coach Michelle Pacheco. “It’s been pretty good considering a lot of them have never played soccer before.”
Despite the fact that they most likely won’t be traveling to zones, Pacheco said they will be watching lots of soccer during the Euro Cup and hopefully continue to build on what they have learned for next season.
The BVCS girls will now go on to play their northern rivals at zones this weekend in Smithers.