The Merritt Secondary School girls’ soccer team may have been knocked out of playoffs but the team is not knocked down.

Coach Mo Ollek said the team got more confident as the season wore on.

The girls lost their first playoff game to Valleyview 5-0.

“We outplayed them in the first half,” Ollek said, “but they’re not quite in the same shape as the other team so they kind of faded in the second half.

“In the second game against Westsyde, the same thing. They didn’t get past centre for the first 10 minutes. But again, we couldn’t score.”

That game ended 3-0 for Westsyde.

Ollek said the girls played well in their two games but were unable to put the ball in the net.

“Kaitlyn Suzuki was strong all week in playoffs. She’s our MVP,” Ollek said, noting Suzuki is one of two players who will graduate this year.

That’s one benefit of having such a young team, Ollek said — the vast majority of the players will return next season.

He said next year the goal is to beat Kamloops.

“We could’ve won our last playoff game. We should’ve won that game, we just couldn’t score a goal,” he said.

Over the May 10-11 weekend, the girls played some of their strongest soccer games in a tournament in Osoyoos, Ollek said.

They tied for first in their pool, but lost out in the tiebreaker.

“They were playing aggressive, smart soccer, scoring some goals finally as well,” Ollek said.

“If they can figure out to play the way they’re playing now at the start of the year, it’ll make a big difference,” he said, noting it’s the difference between playing to win and playing not to lose.

Skylar Willey played strong defence, he said.

“She made a big difference in all the wins,” Ollek said.

Other players Ollek highlighted were Brandi Boyko and Madison Rauch.

“Rauch played two of her best games that I can remember,” he said.

“Sabrina Samra was dominant as well. She played every position, pretty well, except for goalie,” Ollek said.

Ollek added both goalies, Maddie Webber and Kerragan Selman, were strong in net.