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Red Devils savour return to provincials

Pemberton Secondary School squad off to Kamloops



These Devils won't be in disguise this year.

The Pemberton Red Devils will make a return trip to the Boys A Soccer Provincials in Kamloops from Nov. 5 to 7 after emerging second in the zone tournament last week (Oct. 21 and 22) in Vancouver.

The Red Devils posted a sparkling 3-0 record in round-robin play to lock up a berth before falling 5-1 in the 1 vs. 2 match-up against West Point Grey.

Pemberton started out with a 1-0 win over Stratford, then downed St. John's 3-0 before edging out Mulgrave 1-0.

Head coach Phill Read explained in the final game against a powerhouse, the coaching staff opted to get everybody a taste of the zone tournament.

"We played a lot of players that we didn't give too much time to in the first three games. They're a strong team, too, not to take anything away," Read said. "They're pretty much a soccer academy. There's some monsters playing for those guys."

Pemberton entered the zones at a disadvantage, as stalwart defender Thomas Rozsypalek suffered an illness leading up to the tournament and was unable to play. Pemberton's defence was stout when it needed to be, though the offence also helped pull some games out and keep the pressure off the back line.

"Fortunately we've got a wonderful goalkeeper (Matthew Den Duyf), (who's) very strong, and we were able to pull through," he said. "Against Mulgrave, the defence held. The (game) was (us) managing to grab a goal and defend the rest of the game. It was the total opposite 1-0 against Stratford where we were attacking the whole time but only managed to get one out of 20 shots."

While there are a decent number of returning Red Devils with provincial-level experience from 2014, there will be a fair share of rookies making their debut on the stage.

Thomas Rozsypalek, Chris Read, Kai Archer, Scott Coughlin, Anthony Liakakos, Matthew Den Duyf, Cassidy Pascal, Damon Nelson and Nick Dan are all returnees who will be called upon to provide experience to the younger Red Devils. Last year's squad placed 13th out of 16 teams at the tournament in Nakusp.

"It's a small school, so you end up with players from every year and we do have one or two younger players," he said. "Only two of (the returnees) are in Grade 12, so that bodes well for next year as well."

At this point for provincials, Read only knows of the other zone qualifiers — West Point Grey and Mulgrave — as potential opponents that they've played.


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