Sports

McMath eyeing B.C. soccer title

By Don Fennell

Published 4:25 PDT, Wed May 22, 2019

Last Updated: 4:31 PDT, Tue July 2, 2019

This bridesmaids’ label is getting old.

This bridesmaids’ label is getting old.

And the McMath Wildcats are determined to rid themselves of it at the 2019 B.C. high school girls’ soccer championships next week in Surrey.

Last year, the Wildcats entered the provincials ranked No. 1 and were undefeated before being unceremoniously eliminated in penalty kicks. They were forced to settle for fifth.

This year, they vow, things will be different.

With several players experienced in the art of the penalty kick as members of the club side Richmond Strikers, the Wildcats are armed with a positive mindset heading into the tournament May 29 to 31 at Cloverdale Athletic Park.

“I think a lot of it has to do with experience in those moments,” says coach Mandhir Punia.

The Strikers have been in the shootout many times in the last couple of seasons, including their two most recent games: a win over the Vancouver Island Riptide to reach the Coastal Cup final, and then to claim victory over Fraser Valley Selects in the title game played at Minoru Park.

Strikers were prominent in McMath’s 4-3 win over Vancouver’s Kitsilano in the Lower Mainland final played May 16. Jaya Punia and Teagan Ng both scored goals, along with Morgan Game and Madison Elcombe. Samantha Trueman and Bella Lawson were solid defensively.

Coach Mandhir Punia is doing his best to ensure all the Wildcats share the belief.

”You all know how to play the game, and enjoyed accomplishments in the game. All you need to do is channel that,” he has told the girls.

Punia is also hoping that experience provides just rewards.

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