SANFORD, Florida – Saturday was a chance for a couple of the top teams in the nation to bounce back from draws on day one and reaffirm their status at the top of the pile.
Lonestar SC U17 and Sporting Blue Valley U17 both seized that chance with resounding success from the Seminole Soccer Complex.
A Change in Mentality
Sporting Blue Valley cruised past a very good Freestate Soccer Alliance side 4-0 on Saturday behind a two-goal performance from Missouri commit Savannah Trujillo.
Nebraska commit Haley Hanson netted the first goal of the game midway through the first half with a hard shot from 20 yards out that zipped past the keeper.
The two sides went to the break at 1-0, but Sporting quickly changed that in the second stanza with three goals in 12 minutes to put the game out of reach.
Missouri recruit Allie Hess made it 2-0 with a skillful tap over the keeper after a long ball into the box. Trujillo then capped the game with two goals in two minutes thanks to assists from Dorian Bailey and Callie Henshaw.
“The biggest difference for us was mentality and being ready for it,” Sporting Blue Valley head coach Huw Williams told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “The girls came out ready for a good game. We played them last year and they beat us 2-0.
“We won the game 4-0, but it was not a 4-0 game. We put our away chances in what was a very good game.”
Williams also cited Freestate’s Midge Purce, the former U.S. U17 Women’s National Team star, who looked like she could break free from the defense at any moment, but Sporting held strong for the most part and limited Purce’s chances. Outside back Brooke Zimmerman did an outstanding job in the second half of slowing Purce down.
Yet, the coach still saw room for improvement with his group moving forward.
“Offensively, we are dangerous,” Williams said. “We are starting to solidify in the back. We are a good team, but we are not playing as well as we could be right now.”
Sporting ends the trip to Florida with a game against Carmel United on Sunday.
Character of a Champion
Lonestar SC U17 and Eclipse Select Soccer Club delayed the kickoff of their meeting on Saturday by more than five minutes due to neither club wanting to do its pregame cheer first.
When the ball did finally get in play, Lonestar used its experience in high-pressure situations to carefully slide past a very talented Eclipse squad, which fought tooth and nail on the day against the ECNL defending national champions.
Eclipse took the lead in the dying moments of the first half when Hannah Wilder smashed home the rebound off a corner kick.
The halftime instructions for the Texas squad did the trick though, as Lonestar won the final 45 minutes by a 3-0 score line.
Nia Stallings scored the game-tying goal on an easy tap-in from a few yards out after the defense lost the speedy winger. Katherine Uhler scored the game-winning goal directly from a corner kick as her shot went over the keeper and into the net.
Mikaela Harvey capped the scoring thanks to a beautiful pass from Christyna Pitre, who won the ball in midfield and then fed it to the attacking mid. Harvey cut around her mark and then slipped it past the keeper.
“They showed great character,” Lonestar SC head coach J.D. Cochran told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “They listened to the information that the coaching staff gave at half time and absolutely destroyed the Eclipse team, which is a great team.”
Lonestar ends the weekend with a clash against Michigan Hawks on Sunday.
For ten minutes on Saturday, Dallas Sting looked vulnerable. The top team in the U16 age group almost looked mortal, but that changed for the last 70 minutes and Sting eased its way to a 3-1 win against Crossfire Premier.
The Washington club got off to a blazing start with crisp passing and dilerbate movement, which was arguably the best spell of soccer all day at the Seminole Soccer Complex. Keagan Bolbiol, who finished off her own rebound to grab the opening tally, justifiably rewarded Crossfire’s brilliance with a goal in the fifth minute.
Sting increased its pressure all over the field and took Crossfire out of its rhythm. Goals by Kaycie Tillman and Mimi Asom in the 23rd and 63rd minute led Sting to victory. Chelsea Surpris added an insurance goal after Tillman was fouled in the box.
Sting finishes up on Sunday with a game against PDA, which was also victorious on Saturday.
Rain, rain, go away
PDA U16 battled a harsh wind, intermittent rain, and a tough D’Feeters Soccer Club side during the early morning game on Saturday. The New Jersey club came out on top though thanks to goals from Elizabeth Kinkler and Duke commit Taylor Racioppi.
Racioppi grabbed the first goal in the 59th minute she sped past the defense and slotted her shot around the keeper. Kinkler added another on a beautiful rip from 25 yards out into the upper corner of the net.
PDA improved to 2-0-0 at the event with the win after emerging victorious 5-0 in its opening game on Friday against FC Virginia.
Carmel United U18 topped Challenge SC 1-0 in a wild encounter on Saturday. The Indiana club used a goal by Emma Dwenger early in the first half to secure the three points.
Dwenger stole the ball from one of the Challenge defenders and then cut around the other before burying her shot into the bottom corner of the net.
Challenge SC fought back into the clash and had a few chances to score including one look that appeared to be the game-tying goal. U.S. U18 Women’s National Team forward Haley Pounds hit a shot from the end line that floated into the far corner off the net. However, the goal was waved off after the assistant referee ruled that the ball had already crossed the end line before going back into the field of play.
Carmel United could finish the event with a winning record with a positive result against Michigan Hawks on Sunday.