Celtic squads just miss medal hunt

Todd Pruner
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P.A. U-16 girls sixth at nationals; U-14 boys settle for seventh after only loss of 2008 season

Both Prince Albert Celtic teams had strong showings at national soccer championships in the Maritimes, but fell short of the medal round.

Celtic squads just miss medal hunt

Both Prince Albert Celtic teams had strong showings at national soccer championships in the Maritimes, but fell short of the medal round.

The under-16 Prince Albert girls placed second behind Quebec's Lac St. Louis Lakers in their four-team round-robin pool and went on to finish sixth overall. The Celtic lost 3-1 to the SurDel Sting of British Columbia in their final game Monday in Sydney, N.S.

The under-14 Celtic boys, meanwhile, finished seventh after just missing out on advancing from round-robin play. Prince Albert beat the Codiac First Touch of New Brunswick 2-1 in its final game in Prince Edward Island.

Both Prince Albert coaches, however, are happy at how far their teams made it this year.

"Our goal going down there was to get in the medal round and we played a game on Saturday for that," said Dale McFee, head coach of the girls. "It was against Quebec. We ended up losing it, but it was the girls' best game all year, the best game that I've probably ever coached."

The game was tied 80 minutes in and things were looking good for Prince Albert, but Quebec scored and quickly doubled the lead on a penalty kick after a hand-ball from Prince Albert.

After that, the Celtic were emotionally depleted. They beat Prince Edward Island, which ended up eighth, but lost the fifth-place game to B.C. Quebec went on to win the tournament.

The Celtic boys couldn't have come closer to making the medal round in P.E.I.

The boys failed to put a goal on the board in their first two games, but played well enough defensively to earn scoreless draws against both Manitoba and Quebec.

In their final game of the round robin the Celtic had to beat the hosts by at least five goals to have a hope of getting into the medal round. A determined squad came out and did what they had to do, winning 6-1, including a hat trick from Kyle McKay.

But even with the victory, the Celtic had to hope for a tie between Manitoba and Quebec. Things were going Prince Albert's way until the 90th minute when Manitoba was awarded a penalty kick.

"They scored and we were basically watching them knock us out of the playoff round," said coach Clark Hillaby. "So we won 6-1 and we had boys in tears, because they didn't make the medal round."

After being eliminated from championship contention, the Celtic lost 2-0 to Quebec and beat New Brunswick 2-1.

The Quebec game was the Prince Albert team's only loss all year. The Celtic finished with a 19-1 overall record.

tpruner@paherald.sk.ca

Organizations: Celtic, Prince Albert, Codiac First Touch of New Brunswick 2

Geographic location: Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba British Columbia Sydney New Brunswick

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