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SJ Earthquakes win the U15 DA Championship

Article Written by J.R. Eskilson
Published: July 11, 2019

The San Jose Earthquakes won the 2018-2019 U.S. Soccer Girls Development Academy U15 National Championship on Thursday with a 3-0 victory over Colorado Rush. Jasmine Aikey scored twice and Julia Saunicheva also scored as the Quakes nabbed all three goals in the first half. America Andrea Frias and Yuna McCormack contributed with assists on the first two goals. 

The Quakes finished the season playing their best soccer. In the knock-out rounds (quarterfinal, semifinal, and final), the Quakes did not concede a goal. The Northern California side scored 17 goals during that three-game stretch to claim the ultimate crown in the DA. 

On Thursday, the Quakes’ buzzsaw did not take long to get going. Saunicheva scored the opener in the third minute. The talented winger pressured the Rush defense into a giveaway. Frias ended up with the ball near the top of the box. The center forward played a great pass into Saunicheva who slotted it past Harlee Head for the first goal. 

McCormack set up the second goal. The midfielder split two defenders with an excellent pass to Aikey on the left wing. Aikey slotted it home with her right foot for the second goal of the game in the 13th minute. 

Heather Gilchrist had the first scoring chance of the game for the Rush. Gilchrist tried a shot from outside the box that required Quakes goalkeeper Alexia Muniz to push the attempt over the crossbar. 

The ball did not stay in the Quakes’ half for long. McCormack was in the action again in the 33rd minute when she played in a great pass to Frias, but Head came up with key block on the shot. 

Minutes later, Peyton Marcisz set up the attempt that led to the third goal. Marcisz slipped in the ball for Aikey who was taken down in the box. Aikey converted from the spot for her second goal of the game. 

Head was called into action two more times in the first half. She made a save on a shot in the final minute of the half, but needed a little help from the post on the second one. 

Aikey nearly had her first half hat trick when she split a pair of defenders, cut past the goalkeeper, but then saw her touch nearly slip out of bounds. Aikey, a 2005 playing up a year, raced after the ball with her long strides and tried an audacious heel flick that hit the post. Rush defenders cleared away the rebound. 

Quakes held a 3-0 lead at the break, and never really looked like they were going to be challenged in the second half. 

Gilchrist tried her luck on another long range bomb but it went just over the bar. 

McCormack hit the crossbar on a shot in the 60th minute as she tried to add to the lead for San Jose. 

Peyton Nourse had the last chance of the game for Rush with another blast from outside the box, but her shot also went over the bar. 

Thursday’s loss ended an eight-game winning streak for Rush, which qualified for the playoffs as the top wildcard team. Rush knocked off the No. 5 and the No. 4 overall seeds on the way to an appearance in the National Championship game. 

Quakes went wire-to-wire as the top team in the Development Academy as the Northern California squad came into the campaign as one of the favorites and left 11 months later with the trophy to make the words ring true. Andres Deza assembled an impressive group that looks to have a bright future at the club and international level. 

Photo: @ussoccer_da

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