ZAREPHTH, NEW JERSEY – Continuing with our coverage of the ECNL matches at the PDA Memorial Day Showcase here, we turn our attention to some highlights of the U17 age group. Many of these players are already committed to schools, but I also noticed the matches here, at least the ones that mattered in the playoff scenarios, were especially competitive.
Keith Caldwell’s Scorpions team took a dramatic 1-0 win over San Diego Surf, as goalkeeper Tabitha Michaelidis made a clutch save on a penalty kick to preserve the victory. (See video above)
Surf were giving special defensive attention to Scorpions goal-scoring phenom McKenzie Meehan, who nevertheless showed a great instinct for being in the right positions and looking for goal-scoring opportunities, which led to two near-missed in the 1st half. Surf’s Morgan Batcheller showed a lot of heart with her work rate and brave defending in the hot temperatures.
Madison Meehan had a hard shot saved by Surf goalkeeper Hunter Rittgers. Scorpions’ defender Kendall Andrew directed a header on target, but Surf midfielder Kylie Dick cleared it off the line and the match remained scoreless.
Scoprions’ left-sided attacker Courtney Maguire has some excellent footskills and is willing to take one or two players on and beat them, which she did more than once on Monday. Defender Kendall Andrew is a smart and skilled defender. Surf midfielder Margaret Gulczynski showed a lot of savvy in attack and an excellent work rate.
Another Surf player who impressed was forward Erika Leal. She is strong and has a lot of good attacking ideas. Her day was cut short however when she suffered a serious-looking leg injury that left her in a lot of pain. I hated to see this and it fit the course of the weekend as there were a lot of injuries and she became one of 8 ambulance runs from the weekend, according to a tournament staffer.
Michaelidis impressed before her penalty save as well with some quick decisions coming off her line. Andrew made an important challenge in the penalty area at one point when Leal had put herself in a dangerous position in the area.
The winning goal came from Ashley Harwood with a well-placed shot following a giveaway in the Surf defensive third Michaelidis and her teammates made it stand up, and Scorpions had an important win.
Mike Nesci’s Eclipse Select team had to rally late to defeat a game Sereno SC team 3-2. Two goals from Michelle Prokof, who is starting to look like one of the very best late recruits as a 2013 for some lucky college, led the way.
Sereno goalkeeper Carissa Miller showed her national team credentials with some excellent saves on the day, including one early from a drive by Eclipse’s Lauren Sajewich.
Prokof scored her first goal on a nice setup from Marquette-bound defender Erin Holland, and Eclipse looked comfortable with a 1-0 halftime lead.
That changed in the 2nd half when a hard-charging Sydney Schroeder blocked an attempted clearance and the ball flew straight into the back of the Eclipse net to tie the game. Eclipse tried to answer straightaway, but Michelle Mottonen’s effort was stopped by a reflex save from Miller.
Sereno then took a 2-1 lead when Kathryn Yancone curled in a long-range free kick. This lit a spark under Eclipse and Prokof began dropping deeper and asserting herself even more in the middle of the field. She and Mottonen combined to win a corner and Taylor Schissler’s serve was headed over the bar by Holland.
Prokof made a good run into the penalty area and was tripped for a penalty, which she converted herself to tie the game a 2-2. The Chicago-area side kept pressing and scored the winner when Schissler served a good ball and Paige Bendell sent it into the back of the net for a 3-2 margin. It could have been 4, but Sereno’s Madison Reisdorf cleared a late shot off the line.
Carmel United’s U17 team won an exciting 3-2 victory over GSA Phoenix on Sunday. New team member Grace Lachowecki scored a pair of goals and talked with us afterward about that, playing with this talented group, and her brother Max.
The other Carmel goal was a thing of beauty. Emma Dwenger ran down a ball on the right and in full stride reached it just before the end line, hitting a bullet cross across her body to where McKenzie Muchow met it with an equally skillful volley into the back of the net. It was true highlight reel stuff.
Another Carmel player who really impressed on the day was Megan Kaser. She’s just a powerhouse getting forward down the wing from her outside back spot. Kaser has got a professional attitude during matches that will serve her well at Purdue, where she’s a verbal commit.
GSA got goals from U18 WNT player Anna McClung and Georgia verbal commitment Rachel Garcia.
The down side of the game came when Carmel midfielder Morgan Proffitt, just a week away from her first youth national team camp, tore her ACL jumping to avoid a challenge. Her coach Ralph Richards mentioned afterward that the determination the Marquette verbal has shown to get to this level is what he believes will get her back into action and eventually a return to the national team reckoning. I concur.
The final match of my weekend saw Dallas Sting defeat Arsenal FC 4-0. Apparently the Arsenal team is a replacement group after the previous first team disbanded (I’ve heard enough of that story to know I didn’t want to hear the rest).
Holland Hanson’s Southern Californians kept their shape and gave a good account under difficult circumstances. Kenny Medina’s Sting team is a powerhouse and scored three nice goals in quick succession in the 1st half.
Glory Williams hammered home a strike from 25 yards out on the left. Williams then served a good ball that Katie Martin rose to powerfully head home, and then Madeleine Lundberg made it 3-0 with a slashing run into the penalty area followed by a hard shot across her body into the back of the net.
Lundberg made it 4-0 after another good run and shot late in the day. The hot and humid temperatures slowed played to a crawl for much of the 2nd half. The scoreline would have been worse if not for some good saves in the Arsenal goal by Abigail Perry.
Full U17 Results for the Weekend
World Class FC 2, Minnesota Thunder 0
Ohio Elite SA 2, Connecticut FC 1
Bethesda SC 3, SoccerPlus Connecticut 0
FC Delco 1, Real Colorado 0
Virginia Rush 10, Las Vegas Premier SC 0
SC Del Sol 3, FC Bucks 0
PDA 1, Dallas Texans 0
West Coast FC 0, Albertson Fury 0
Solar-Chelsea 1, Penn Fusion 1
FC Virginia 7, So Cal Blues 3
Ohio Premier Eagles 8, Arsenal FC 0
McLean Youth Soccer 2, Heat FC 0
Colorado Rush 0, Scorpions SC 0
Freestate SA 1, Carmel United 0
Mustang SC 1, Dallas Sting 1
Birmingham United 1, De Anza Force 1
East Meadow 2, Sereno SC 0
Real So Cal 3, Eclipse Select 2
Concorde Fire 4, San Diego Surf 2
Slammers 3, Gwinnett SA 3
FC Stars of Massachusetts 3, Eagles SC 0
Irvine Strikers 2, Pleasanton Rage 1
Scorpions SC 5, Mustang SC 1
Real So Cal 1, Ohio Premier Eagles 1
Albertson Fury 2, FC Bucks 2
East Meadow 2, Eagles SC 1
San Diego Surf 2, FC Stars of Massachusetts 1
Freestate SA 4, Arsenal FC 0
World Class FC 4, West Coast FC 0
Penn Fusion 3, SC Del Sol 2
Minnesota Thunder 2, McLean Youth Soccer 2
Colorado Rush 2, FC Delco 1
Heat FC 2, De Anza Force 1
Concorde Fire 0, Dallas Texans 0
Carmel United 3, Gwinnett SA 2
Solar-Chelsea 3, Connecticut FC 0
Eclipse Select 1, PDA 0
Virginia Rush 1, Irvine Strikers 1
Bethesda SC 3, Real Colorado 0
Dallas Sting 1, So Cal Blues 0
Birmingham United 1, Sereno SC 0
SoccerPlus Connecticut 4, Las Vegas Premier 1
Ohio Elite SA 2, Pleasanton Rage 0
FC Virginia 2, Slammers FC 1
Minnesota Thunder 4, West Coast FC 2
Colorado Rush 4, Gwinnett SA 1
Eclipse Select 3, Sereno SC 2
So Cal Blues 3, Freestate SA 1
Birmingham United 1, SC Del Sol 0
FC Stars of Massachusetts 2, Ohio Elite SA 0
Scorpions SC 1, San Diego Surf 0
East Meadow 3, Heat FC 2
Real Colorado 1, Ohio Premier Eagles 0
Mustang SC 3, Concorde Fire 0
Dallas Texans 6, Slammers FC 1
Albertson Fury 1, Solar-Chelsea 0
Real So Cal 2, Bethesda SC 2
FC Virginia 2, Carmel United 1
Penn Fusion 1, De Anza Force 0
Pleasanton Rage 6, Las Vegas Premier 0
McLean Youth Soccer 2, Eagles SC 1
PDA 2, FC Delco 0
World Class FC 5, Irvine Strikers 0
Dallas Sting 4, Arsenal FC 0
Virginia Rush 1, Connecticut FC 0
FC Bucks 4, SoccerPlus Connecticut 0