RICHMOND, Va. – Of the 16 teams that traveled to Virginia for the ECNL National Finals, 10 came from all the way from California.
In Saturday’s four national championship games, all four age groups were won by teams from the Golden State.
So Cal Blues U16s held off San Diego Surf in the day's opening game. Two quickfire goals from Alexandria Wright was enough, as that combined with a stout Blues defensive effort to secure a 2-0 win. It marked the third straight ECNL national title for So Cal Blues 02s.
Speaking of fast starts, in the U14 championship, MVLA blitzed FC Stars of Massachusetts with three goals in the game’s first 15 minutes through Leah O’Brien, Allison Montoya and Amalie Pianim. That proved to be enough, as Stars pushed for more after pulling one back in the second half, eventually falling by a 3-1 score.
For the bulk of the first half, there was very little to separate So Cal Blues and Davis Legacy in the U17 title bout. But Trinity Rodman’s astute backheel provided the assist for Caitlyn Bauer, putting them up 1-0 at the half. So Cal pulled away with three second half goals, including a pair from Isabella D'Aquila, to secure the crown.
Finally, the U15 age group featured East Meadow SC and Slammers, both teams playing a day after advancing to the final on penalty kicks. As a result, there was little that separated the sides, and eventually Slammers opened the scoring in the first half when Kaitlyn Paculba stuffed home a rebound. A stout defensive effort from the Slammers back line limited the looks for a talented EMSC attack, and a set piece goal eventually slammed the door on any hopes of a comeback as Slammers won 2-0.
Below is a look at some of the notable individual performances spotted in Saturday’s action.