Thirty two unbeaten games. That is the streak that the U-16 Yorkton United Football Club girls reached in winning the 2012 Saskatchewan Provincial Championship in Regina over the weekend. The girls took home two tournament titles and a bronze medal in their pre-provincial competition and were heading into Regina with the confidence that a thirty two game win streak should give a team.
Group play saw keeper Edie Schramm steal the show with three clean sheets, keeping YUFC from conceding a goal in the three game group stage. YUFC opened the group stage with a draw against Saskatoon Hollandia followed by a four-nil win over Regina ACFC and a three-nil win over Tisdale to earn them seven points in the group stage, good enough to win the group and send them through to the semi-finals. Rita Fetsch was the star of the group stage, scoring four of YUFC's seven goals.
The tournament semi-final saw Regina REU as the club that was given the chance to end YUFC's fairytale season. Despite the game ending in a one-one draw off of a Fetsch goal after extra time, YUFC managed to win in the dreaded penalty shootout. Allison Berge, Bailey Pelchat, Morgan Shymanski and Rita Fetsch all put away their penalty chances, advancing their club to the Provincial Championship.
In the title fixture YUFC came up against another undefeated team in Saskatoon Aurora. Saskatoon wasted no time in shocking the Yorkton eleven, scoring a goal ten minutes into the game and putting YUFC on the brink of losing their magical season early. Rita Fetsch nearly tied the game at the end of the first half, ringing a well stuck strike off of the crossbar allowing Aurora to enter halftime forty-five minutes away from the title. Aurora held on to the lead until the closing moments when Fetsch finally broke through and put the game level, sending the game into extra time and continuing the high drama that filled the weekend.
Like in the semi-final extra time solved nothing and for the second time in the weekend YUFC was forced to put their unbeaten record on the line in penalty kicks. Both teams were not ready to lose as five shooters were not enough, making sudden death penalties a reality as seven shooters were needed to see a provincial champion. After tense, back and forth action Carleigh Grunert was the hero of the day potting the winning penalty and giving Yorkton United their provincial championship.
Winning two knockout games in penalty kicks on the way to a title is something that isn't seen often and YUFC overcame tough competition to win in two very exciting games to close out their provincial championship run in games the players on the pitch will never forget. Head coach Alfredo Bermudez was proud of his players effort stating, "This was the best group of kids I have ever coached." Bermudez also said he is excited to coach the girls in the indoor season as they look to continue their winning ways into the next season.