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Provincial championship run ends for Powell River Villa

Defensive lapses and losing one-on-one battles costs team in semi-final match, says coach
Dean Thorsell
ONE GOAL SHORT: Powell River Villa veteran Dean Thorsell [left, in black] looks on as teammate Kye Taylor battles for ball possession in a game against Vancouver Strikers on May 6. Taylor scored the only goal in a 2-1 loss, ending the team’s run in the provincial championships. Kerensa Haynes photo

Powell River Villa soccer club’s season ended on May 6 with a 2-1 away game loss to Vancouver Strikers in a semi-final game for BC Soccer Provincial B Keith Millar Cup.

Villa was unlucky at the end of an exciting game in Vancouver. The teams were tied 1-1 and two minutes away from overtime when the Strikers scored.

Vancouver went ahead 1-0 in the first half with a chip shot over Powell River goalkeeper Matt Liknes after a defensive breakdown. Villa evened the score 10 minutes later when veteran striker Kye Taylor scored on a penalty kick after Jake Kenmuir was taken down on the edge of the box.

Another defensive lapse led to the Strikers scoring their second goal to seal the victory.

“We had a few chances to win and missed the net on a couple of occasions,” said Villa coach Chris McDonough. “For whatever reason, there were a couple of miscues and that was really the difference.”

Mistakes on the back line were uncommon for Villa throughout the 2017/2018 season. The team allowed only 10 goals over the 17-game Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) Division 3A schedule. In three games of provincial play, Villa allowed only three goals while scoring seven.

“Two mistakes and losing one-on-one battles cost us,” said the coach.

It was a physical game and McDonough said the Strikers were a big team with a big midfield, and a big striker who caused problems for Villa.

The team made a great run winning VISL Division 3A and moving up to Division 2 next season. Elimination from the Challenge Cup Tournament in February and being knocked out of the provincial playoffs at the semi-final stage does not diminish the club’s year, said McDonough.

“It was a fantastic season,” he added. “We accomplished our main goal, which was to win the division and get promoted, and getting to the semi-finals of the BCs was something to be proud of, as well.”

The outlook is positive for next year, according to McDonough. As for his future as Villa coach, he is not saying at this time.

“I'm digesting the season,” he said, “so I'll regroup in a month or two and think about next season.”

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