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Undefeated Valley United girls win Tier 1 provincials in Kentville


KENTVILLE, N.S. - This season will be a hard one to top for the girls on Valley United’s U-15 AAA squad.

The top-ranked team earned the right to host provincials in Kentville after going undefeated in regular season and tournament play.

“We played 14 games – we had three ties and 11 wins – and we went to two tournaments and won those,” said head coach Dara Ramirez, who noted that Valley last hosted Tier 1 provincials in 2009.

“It was a difficult situation in terms of coming in as the team to beat, and that was our first time doing that. It’s a lot of pressure when you’re in that position to go into the tournament and get the job done.”

But the home team was up for the challenge.

Valley beat Dartmouth United 4-0 in semifinal action to advance to the championship game against Suburban FC. Jenna Turner scored twice, Sophie Messom had a single marker and Jenica Saunders added another with a dot shot goal. Milena Ramirez recorded the shutout.

The championship game, however, would be decided by a single point.

Suburban started off the scoring and held a 1-0 lead over Valley for the majority of the first half.

Saunders was once again called to take a penalty kick for Valley following a handball in the 18-yard box, and she bested Suburban’s keeper with a swift low shot perfectly placed in the far corner of the net.

Suburban would continue to test Valley, fiercely pursuing the ball in an attempt to maintain, or gain, control of the play. Turner, Valley’s leading scorer, netted the game-winning goal by connecting with an incoming corner kick that she got a piece of in front of the net before Suburban’s keeper could catch the ball.

Ramirez commended Valley’s players for rising to the challenge of hosting provincials.

“We had a lot of adversity in the game today in terms of injuries,” she said.

“Our goalkeeper not being able to play today was a big loss and the young player that stepped in (Allison Rutt) and did that job was a Grade 8 kid. It was phenomenal that she came in and did that job for the team.”

Ramirez, the mother of the starting keeper, was thrilled to watch the group she’s worked with for many years huddle together as they celebrated their big win.

“I’ve had a lot of these players since they were ten and we’ve always been on the cusp of really winning things and making it to the championship game,” she said.

“They’re not just my players, they’re more than that to me. It’s amazing to see them play so hard and persevere through so much adversity to then get the victory that they’ve been dreaming of.”

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