The U15 Girls National Team was back in action at the Home Depot Center Wednesday night, this time for a scrimmage against the women of Pepperdine
In what is becoming something of a habit for them, the U15 Girls more than held their own against an older and more experienced team. After defeating the U18 So Cal Blues 5-1 on Tuesday, the U15s outclassed the Division I Pepperdine
women to the tune of another ho-hum 3-0 victory on Wednesday.
National Team coaches are adamant that the results of practice games are meaningless, and that it is simply the quality of play that matters. But in this game, the lopsided score was indicative of just how well this U15 team is clicking.
was able to match the U15s’ speed and possess the ball decently in the first half, U.S.A. refused to buckle and fought to a 1-0 advantage at halftime.
The U15 GNT beat the Pepperdine women on Wednesday.
In the second half, the chemistry and quality of U.S.A.’s combinations were too much for Pepperdine
to handle, and they simply took over with a quick passing game and a barrage of hard, accurate shots.
After the game, National Team defender/midfielder Morgan Andrews
shed some light on the tactics her team uses to counteract the speed and quickness of older teams like Pepperdine
“We’ve been doing a lot of 3 v. 3 drills in practice, and we warm up with that and try to implement that style of possession in our games,” she said. “That one-, two-touch style of soccer helps us a lot during the game, to squeeze through tight areas and work our way up the field as a unit. We try to work as a team, and I think we did that really well today.”
Indeed, on Wednesday, the U15s “let the ball do the work,” and they let Pepperdine
do the chasing.
And although they emphasized quick passes and possession, the U15s were still able to penetrate Pepperdine
’s defense with cutting runs and through balls, which led to three goals, one each by Gabby Galanti
, Summer Green and Ashley Meier.
Here are some of the National Team players that stood out the most:
Katie Naughton was excellent as a right center-back. She was sturdy and physical as a defender and showed great recovery speed on the retreat, and also distributed the ball very well. Morgan Andrews
displayed good defensive instincts and a great soccer brain as the left center-back. She communicated well, was strong in the air, and delivered some dangerous long balls from the back into the Pepperdine
box. Maya Theuer
was a strong and commanding presence in the defense. Her voice was audible above all others, and she set a good leadership precedent for her team.
Outside backs Rachel Price and Stephanie Amack
impressed with their ability to get up the sideline and initiate counterattacks. Price had a number of booming shots on goal – though some of her attempts might have been overly ambitious, and sailed wide. Haley Washburn
was outstanding, showing great quickness, awareness and distribution skills as a right back.
The U.S.A. defense as a whole was top-notch. They worked as a unit, communicated well, covered and switched marking assignments smoothly and decisively. Kate Bettinger
was very consistent as a holding central midfielder. She was tenacious and strong on the tackle and distributed with patience and vision. She held the midfield together with her communication skills.
Her replacement in the second half, Danielle Weatherholt, was also excellent. She displayed great body control and a deft first touch, but she stood out because of her ball-winning skills and her tireless work rate. She loves to slide tackle and is on the ground a bit too much, but the girl's got an engine. Gabby Galanti
showed good burst as a forward. She was excellent working with her back to the goal, and she scored because of her ability to turn on a dime, protect the ball and get off a clean shot on target.
Reilly Parker was dynamic as a left wing, causing all sorts of problems for the Pepperdine
defense as she crashed the box on the dribble and sent in crosses from the flank. Hayley Dowd
showed excellent speed and ball control on the attack, often using her body to shield the ball from two or more defenders as her teammates tracked up the field. Jasmine Paterson
kept possession of the ball as a forward, setting up her teammates to score on a number of dangerous through balls. Lauren Bernard
and Summer Green combined well on the left side, working off wall passes to keep the Pepperdine
wings on their heels. Green also scored with a scorching shot from the left corner of the penalty area.
And finally, goalkeeper McKenzie Karas was very strong in goal. She had to work harder than she did Tuesday against the Blues, but she was reliable and very physical against the Pepperdine
attack in the first half.
Although there are other players on the U15s who played well, too, the stars listed above shined the brightest.
Right now as a team, the U15 GNT is clicking on all cylinders. They’re running like a well-oiled machine, and the rest of the world would be wise to take notice. Starting Lineup by Position:
McKenzie Karas (Premier ’95 Black; Las Vegas, Nev.)
DEFENDERS (4): Stephanie Amack
(Mustang Black; Pleasanton, Calif.), Katie Naughton (Sockers FC; Arlington Heights, Ill.), Rachel Price (Space Coast United; Melbourne, Fla.), Morgan Andrews
(FC Stars of Mass.; Milford, Mass.)
Reilly Parker (Mustang Blast; Danville, Calif.), Kate Bettinger
(Marin FC; Belvedere, Calif.), Caroline Lindquist (CASL Spartan Elite Black; Raleigh, N.C.), Brittany Ratcliffe
(FC Pennsylvania Strikers; Williamstown, N.J.)
Ryan Walker (Mustang Soccer Club; Oakland, Calif.), Gabrielle Galanti (Montclair Thunderbolts; Howell, N.J.)Reserves:
Carissa Miller (Sereno Soccer Club; Cave Creek, Ariz.), Sarah Cox
(Slammers G93; Newport Beach, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (4): Lauren Bernard
(Nordic Soccer Club; Colchester, Vt.), Margo McGinty
(Albertson 93 FURY; Levittown, N.Y.), Maya Theuer
(San Diego Surf; Carlsbad, Calif.), Haley Washburn
(San Juan Soccer Club; Folsom, Calif.)
Summer Green (Michigan Hawks 95 Black; Milford, Mich.), Danielle Weatherholt (So Cal Blues Pearson; Capistrano Beach, Calif.), Ashley Meier (Cleveland Whitecaps; Strongsville, Ohio), Corey Persson (Stars of Massachusetts; Danvers, Mass.)FORWARDS (3): Hayley Dowd
(Nordic SC; Colchester, Vt.), Jasmine Paterson
(Kendall Soccer Shores; Key Largo, Fla.), Courtney Proctor (Santa Clarita Blazers; Santa Clarita, Calif.)