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TSS Wins PCSL Challenge Cup

ImageThe TSS U18 girls finished their summer program by winning the PCSL Challenge Cup over the July 24-25 weekend at Coquitlam Town Centre. After finishing the PCSL Reserve Women's league with 11 wins, 2 loses, and 3 ties, TSS found themselves up against Chilliwack FC for the semi-finals on Saturday, July 24. It was a particularly hot day on the synthetic turf as officials were forced to schedule water breaks to keep players hydrated. In a back and forth game that saw both teams chasing the game at different times, TSS eventually overcame Chilliwack in extra time with a precision through ball from Lauren Tasaka onto Elexis Schlossarek who struck it hard into the corner, giving TSS the winning goal.

"Chilliwack has always been a difficult opponent for us," said TSS head coach Brendan Quarry. "There were times when I didn't think we were going to pull it off but Lauren Tasaka really made the difference for us in the midfield. She's one of the most skilful players in the league and has great vision for distributing the ball."

TSS moved on to face defending champions Penticton Pinnacles for the final on Sunday, July 25. TSS had only lost 2 games all season, one of which was a defeat at the hands of Penticton. The heat had not relented from the previous day and now, with heavy legs from the semi-final that saw 30 minutes of extra time, TSS was bracing themselves for a real contest.

TSS scored early into the first half from a Lauren Tasaka strike that was mishandled by the Penticton keeper. Penticton countered soon afterwards with a bouncing ball that was headed over TSS keeper, Nimmie Banipal. The remainder of the game was back and forth with Elexis Schlossarek coming close on a couple free kick attempts.

"I've never seen a young female strike a ball as hard as Elexis Schlossarek," said Quarry. "If we have a free kick within 30 yards of goal, we always have a chance of scoring with Schlossarek. It's a laser… and she's only 15 years old."

In what was looking like another game destined for extra time, TSS was awarded a corner kick with 15 minutes to go. On a set play, Lindsay Rea struck the ball on the ground along the top of the 18 yard box, and two TSS players dummied the ball one after the other, drawing Penticton defenders out of position as Kym Van Duynhoven hit it one time into the goal.

Penticton pressed hard in the final 15 minutes but TSS held firm to protect the 2-1 lead. In what seemed like an eternity to the fatigued players, the referee eventually blew the whistle and the game was over.

"It was a bit of a fairytale ending for us," said Quarry. "We've been working on that set play all season but never quite pulled it off, so to score on that particular play in the final was a real treat for the players. I was really pleased for them."'

TSS Academy player Kym Van Duynhoven was awarded MVP by PCSL officials. Her rock-solid defending at the back, as well as scoring the winning goal, helped TSS secure the 2010 Challenge Cup in their inaugural season in the PCSL.

"I was pleased for Kym. She's been one of our most important players all season and she proved that again in the final," said Quarry. "Another player who's been key to this team is Katie Bishop. She's been our main central midfielder all season. She's our Xavi Hernandez - always getting on the ball, always distributing it around the field… and again only 15 years old."

The players now take take a break from the game before they embark on their club season in the fall. These players will also be training together throughout the year at TSS Academy and hope return to the squad next summer to defend their title.

Video Links:

* See a video of the Challenge Cup winning goal

* See a video of the top TSS goals of the season