Published: January 6, 2012
Statements were made at the recent ECNL National Showcase Event in Sanford, Florida, but none were bigger than that of the U16 D'Feeters who capped a perfect 3-0 performance with a banner victory last week.
The Texas club matched up with previously undefeated Ohio Elite on the final day of competition and their 1-0 victory spoke volumes about their legitimacy as contenders this season.
"We set a goal to win all three games and we were all determined to go home with that goal accomplished," said D'Feeters striker Baylee Mitchell. "We didn't quite finish where we wanted to in the ECNL standings last season, so this year's main goal is very to the point - finish in the top 16 in order to compete for a national championship."
The D'Feeters, currently in the middle of the pack of their National Flight A Standings, are well on their way to making the postseason happen – if their most recent showing is any indication.
Led by goalkeeper Morgan Rushing, the team allowed just one goal during the three matches in Florida.
And of course, handing Ohio Elite its first loss of the season was an eye-opening bonus. Not that Ohio was particularly impressed.
"Our match against them was't our best game," said Ohio Elite’s Madeleine Pescovitz. "We lost some of the intensity we had coming out in previous games and not everyone showed up to play their best.
"Unfortunately, we got beat, but going undefeated in the ECNL is nearly impossible and we understood that going in to every game. Eventually we knew we had to get beat and we won't let it discourage us for future matches."
Another top U16 squad that came up a little short in Sanford was KCFC. The Kansas club brought an impressive 11-1-3 record into competition but managed just two losses and one tie during the weekend. The team was shut out twice and scored one goal over the three matches.
"We have had a great season, and won our conference without a loss, and because of that I think we got too comfortable from our previous success," explained KCFC defender Cristina DeZeeuw. "We didn't match the other teams' intensity on the field, and it just wasn't clicking for us. We didn't finish some of our chances, and things kind of fell apart for us at times."
KCFC is led by prolific goal-scorer Abigail Sieperda, but even she couldn't spark the offense this time.
In U16 Flight B action, Ohio Premier won all three of their matches led by the likes of Sydney O'Shaughnessy and Ashley Artrip. The team currently hovers around the top of the standings as they work toward a promotion.
The Sanford showcase was the second of five national events prior to the ECNL National Championship in June.