The Terrace Spirit Bears Special Olympics soccer team competed in a regional qualifier tournament in Mission on May 19 and 20.
Playing their first tournament in seven years and with mostly rookie players, the team played four games in a five-team C division.
But despite being a newly formed team, the Spirit Bears earned second place after one loss and some hard-fought wins.
Game 1 versus the Ridge Meadow Dragons saw Terrace with several good scoring chances in the first half but a failure to budge the twine, while allowing four goals.
In the second half, Nathan Readman scored a hat trick but the team lost 9 – 3.
Game 2 versus the Coquitlam Tornados saw Terrace cure its scoring woes with a hat trick from Clinton Ho, two goals from Readman and singles from Stan Rinaldi, Bryan Smith and Laura Dale. Goalkeepers Cynthia Hawke and Mike Strachan with help from fullback Hannah Dale shut the door for a final score 8 – 0.
Game 3 was against the Nelson Robins. Terrace hit the goalposts three times early on in this one but then found its touch. With help from midfielders Scott Savard, Caleb Wacholtz and Laura Dale, Readman scored four, Rinaldi scored three and Smith added a single.
Terrace won this game 8 – 4.
The Prince Rupert Flamekickers were Terrace’s Game 4 opponent, and that game made for a soggy match as it was played in the rain.
But no amount of rain could stop the sizzle from the heat each team put on the other.
Prince George opened up an early two goal lead and led throughout.
Terrace fought back and kept it close with strong efforts from several players at both ends of the field. With four minutes left, Readman tied it, then with two minutes to go, he broke in alone and slammed home the winner.
The team took second place in the C division, with a 6 – 5 win over Prince George.