HUNTSVILLE - The Huntsville Strikers under-16 girls’ soccer season opened this weekend with a trip to the Peterborough Challenge Cup tournament, and proved to be a very positive start for the Strikers, sponsored by Huntsville’s ‘Soul Sistas’.
The Strikers’ first opponent was the West Ottawa Warriors, and the outcome was never really in question.
Huntsville took command from the opening kick-off and striker Emily Britton scored early in an aggressive play on the opposing keeper. Huntsville carried this lead into the second half and continued to dominate the play.
Laura Stilwell increased the lead with a great one-timer on a tremendous cross by Ella Sullivan to make the final 2-0 in Huntsville’s favour.
In the second game Saturday, the Strikers met the Pembroke FC, and again, dominated play throughout the game. In the first half, Kirsten MacDougall scored to give Huntsville the edge. The Strikers demonstrated their excellent passing game and had full control of the pitch. Emily Hill scored in the second half off a free kick with a beautiful loft over the Pembroke keeper’s head, to secure the victory.
Sunday morning had Huntsville meet a familiar opponent in the Darlington Dynomite. This was a hard fought game, as the Strikers‘ solid team play was challenged by Darlington’s speed, but again Huntsville controlled the play.
MacDougall scored for Huntsville in the first half, with another lofting ball over the goalkeeper’s head to take the lead. Late in the second half, Darlington answered with a similar goal and the tie remained at the end of the game. This left Huntsville in a three-way tie for first place in the six-team division with a 2-0-1 undefeated record.
Only two teams advanced to the final and the Strikers were edged out of a berth based on total goals for and against. Saree Sasson and Sarah McWhinnie-Ethier provided solid goaltending over the two days, allowing only one goal for the tournament.
Despite missing the championship game, coach Michael Hill said he was delighted with his team’s effort.
“The girls played fabulous positional soccer and really supported each other. It was a great start to our season and I can’t wait to get back to the pitch,” he said.