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Local boys are soccer champs

After two podium finishes in two years, there's not much the Okanagan Mission Huskies boys soccer team can do for an encore.

The Huskies were crowned provincial AA champions earlier this week, beating Archbishop Carney of Port Coquitlam 2-1 in penalty kicks.

The title came on the heels of a bronze medal finish a year ago after losing on penalty kicks in the semi-final.

Not bad for a program that has only been in existence for two years.

In Wednesday's final in Burnaby, Andy Stevenson got the Huskies on the board first with a goal early in the second half.

The goal stood up until the PoCo side equalized with about 10 minutes left in regulation time.

"It ended in a 1-1 draw and forced us until overtime, an extra 10 minutes each way and then a penalty shootout," says Huskies coach Tony Overton.

"After the first five penalties we were still tied, we had each scored four. It then went to sudden death and we won it on the seventh penalty kick. They missed and we scored."

The Huskies went through the tournament undefeated, in fact, the goal allowed late in the final was the only goal they surrendered in five games.

Through the round robin and semi-final the Huskies were 4-0 and outscored their opposition 10-0.

"It's a very good group of players. The starting 11 are Y-league standard so they are all top quality players," says Overton in explaining the team's success.

"We've worked very hard. We started training in August and went into a pre-season cup tournament against club teams on the coast and we won that."

The team also won a BC invitational tournament in Summerland before capturing the valley championship.

"We went into the provincials knowing we'd be in the mix but the quality of teams was really outstanding," says Overton.

"We had a tough game in the group stage against Sentinal and managed to win that 1-0."

Teams at provincials had to win their group in order to have a chance to play for the championship.

Huskies central defender Mackenzie Rigg was named the tournament MVP while Dylan Wagner shared the Golden Boot with six other players.

"He (Mackenzie Rigg) had a tremendous tournament and I believe a couple of university scouts took his details as they did with our goalkeeper Mike Sexton and our captain Andy Stevenson."

The championship was the first provincial title in any sport at OKM in 20 years.

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