Evolution U18 girls win silver at Provincial soccer championships

The U18 Comox Valley Evolution U18 girls soccer team won silver at this year's Provincial championships.

STEPHANIE DEVONSHIRE (LEFT) of the Evolution in action against Kelowna.

STEPHANIE DEVONSHIRE (LEFT) of the Evolution in action against Kelowna.







The U18 Comox Valley Evolution U18 girls soccer team won silver at this year’s Provincial championships.

The Evolution, sponsored by Chatters Hair Salon, played their first game July 8 against the Dunbar Dynamite. With Chelsea Tancon in net, the Evolution started out strong and had several close scoring chances in the opening minutes. Roughly 30 minutes into the first half, the game was put on hold due to a thunder and lightning storm. After it was deemed safe to resume play, the Evolution squad continued to dominate the play but the score remained 0-0 at the half.

Ten minutes into the second half, the game was delayed once again due to more thunder and lightning but once the skies finally started to clear both teams resumed battling hard. With two minutes remaining in the game Amanda Kersey intercepted the ball and raced up the left wing, getting the ball to Natalie deLange who gave a quick pass back to Maddy Bams. Bams then launched a high ball from outside the 18-yard box which went right over the keeper’s outstretched arms to give the Evolution a well-deserved 1-0 victory.

After a bye on Friday, July 9, the Evolution had an early 9 a.m. start against Kelowna United for their second match on July 10. The game began with lots of end-to-end action with the Evolution’s Jen Dyer starting between the posts. After numerous early chances, about 15 minutes into the first half the Evolution netted their first goal. It came from Natalie deLange, who sent the ball flying into the top left corner of the net, after receiving a pass from Rebecca Williams who got the ball from Katie Pankhurst.

Play resumed with more close chances from both teams, and soon the Kelowna girls were able to get one in the net to make the score 1-1. The second half continued with some serious offensive pressure from the Evolution’s strikers, Rebecca Williams and Jill Paton, and great plays from the entire team. Paton was awarded a penalty shot after making a great run up the field and crossing the ball into the box where a hand ball was called on a Kelowna defender. The Evolution was back on top at 2-1 after Paton easily netted the penalty shot.

End-to-end action resumed and the Evolution’s defence had their work cut out for them but with great hustle from the entire defence, and good clearances from Stephanie Henwood, the score remained 2-1. About half way through the second half, Brittany Tilley intercepted a Kelowna goal kick and sent a through ball to Jill Paton who then crossed the ball to Rebecca Williams, and Williams headed it into the top left corner making the score 3-1.

The Evolution fought hard to keep the Kelowna squad from scoring, which resulted in the Evolution’s defending centre midfielder Jessica Cain receiving a yellow card. After an awesome team effort, good saves from keeper Jen Dyer, and all around hard work from every Evolution player, the team earned themselves a 3-1 win, giving them a berth into the gold medal game against the Surrey United Wild Ones.

Nerves were high, and right away Surrey showed that they weren’t going to make it an easy game for the Evolution and keeper Chelsea Tancon. Just under five minutes into the game, Surrey was awarded a corner kick and after some confusion in front of the net, Surrey scored, A few minutes after their first, Chelsea Tancon made a diving effort to stop the initial shot but Surrey was able to put the rebound in the back of the net.

Minutes later the Wild Ones netted another quick goal to make it 3-0. The Evolution squad came alive after those initial ten minutes and, with Maddy Bams man-marking Surrey’s striker, they began to dominate the play. After many close scoring opportunities, Brittany Tilley got the Evolution’s first goal after receiving a pass from Rebecca Williams.

Both teams continued battling for the ball, with the Evolution still dominating the play, as the first half ended with the score remaining 3-1. The second half resumed with more close Evolution chances; which included a goal from Jill Paton, which was unfortunately called offside, after Breanna Franks sent a great ball from her left defender position all the way up to Paton on the right wing, who chipped the ball right over the keeper’s head.

The Evolution continued to control the play but as several more scoring opportunities arose the Evolution squad just couldn’t capitalize on them, either missing the net by inches or ringing it off the post or cross bar. After a hard fought match, with the Evolution dominating the play after the first 10 minutes up until the final whistle, the Surrey United Wild Ones still came out on top with the final score 3-1.

“This gold medal match was an emotional end for the Evolution, being their final game of youth soccer,” a team spokesperson noted. “The Evolution’s defenders throughout the Provincials, Stephanie Henwood, Luci Koebel, Dana Wheeldon, Anneliese McNaughton, Katie Pankhurst, Breanna Franks, Jessica Cain, and Amanda Kersey, deserve a round of applause for their outstanding effort and hard work. As do the offensive Evolution players, Marika DeHaitre, Maddy Bams, Jill Paton, Brittany Tilley, Christina Patterson, Stephanie Devonshire, Natalie deLange, and Rebecca Williams for their great hustle and for never giving their opponents a rest. And last but certainly not least, the Evolution’s two keepers, Jen Dyer and Chelsea Tancon, deserve the biggest applause of all, for not only making great saves throughout the tournament but for staying calm under pressure, and playing a tremendous role in all of the Evolution’s success.”

FAN FOOTNOTES Parents of the Evolution players would like to give congratulations to the team for its many accomplishments throughout the years, including: three Island Cup Championships, two Coastal Cup Championships, a Salt Spring Island Championship, two silvers and a bronze medal at Provincials and third place at an international tournament in Holland … an extra round of applause to Natalie deLange, Breanna Franks, Jillian Paton, Kim Robertson (unable to play at Provincials due to a season-ending knee injury) and Brittany Tilley for playing with the team from U12 through U18 and for keeping the team going strong throughout various challenges over the years … finally, an enormous thank you to coach Craig Tilley and manager Denise Woods, who have both been with the team since day one, and another huge thank you to coach Ron Quilter, who joined the team two years ago … you’ve all given an incredible amount of time, commitment and effort to the team and it has been highly appreciated by both players and parents; it’s been a memorable seven years …

– Comox Valley Evolution