A combined Quesnel Special Olympic soccer team travelled down Highway 97 on June 9-10 to score a victory against the province’s best at the Abbotsford Special Olympic Soccer Tournament.
The Quesnel Fury I, which is the city’s top Special Olympic soccer squad, managed to place first in the C division without two of its best players, Brock Terlesky and Riley Foster.
The two are currently on loan to the Kelowna Rebels, who finished on top at last year’s provincial games to qualify for the National Games in Nova Scotia this summer.
In place of the two stars, Libby Sherwood and Aaron Allison from Fury II were recruited for the tournament.
According to Rick Prosk, program co-ordinator for Quesnel Special Olympics, the team was also playing with a trio of rookies, ages nine, 11 and 13.
He says they were terrific.
“You always wonder when you start mixing kids and adults how it’s going to work,” he says.
“Are the kids going to act like kids? Fighting and chasing each other?
“And the adults, some of them are in their 30s and 40s and don’t spend a lot of time around kids.
“But I was impressed at how well they got along, how they supported each other on the field and showed some good team work and [how well they] got along well off the field as well.”
Daniel Tilsner, who at nine was the youngest competitor for the team, surprised everyone with his tenacity and skill.
Prosk says he is a hard worker who never gets tired.
“I was watching him dribble the ball around these guys twice his height. He would steal the ball and dribble circles around them.”
Game one was played versus Langley II and the Fury won 4-1, with Robert Beiswanger and Josh Tilsner (Daniel’s brother), scoring two goals each.
In the second match they dominated Langley I by a score of 7-0.
Beiswanger and Josh Tilsner again scored two each, with Danny Dodgson, Clayton Bauder and Daniel Tilsner picking up the singles.
Jerman Severeid notched the shutout in net.
Game three saw them face their local rivals, Prince George.
The two northern teams traded own goals before Josh Tilsner scored the winner early in the second half.
And a rematch with Prince George was only suiting for the C Division’s final.
Things were tense as regulation and extra time finished all knotted up at zero.
In the five-player penalty shootout, Josh Tilsner scored as the first shooter, Danny Dodgson scored as the final shooter and the Fury won the game 2-1 to take the tournament championship.
Terlesky and Foster, playing with the Kelowna team, came out on top in the A division.
They won their first two games without much difficulty against Abbotsford and Chilliwack and then lost a nail-biter to Surrey.
Thankfully, they were able to avenge the loss in the final with a shootout win.