Monday, July 30, 2012

Shadow among pride of the Northwest at National Cup XI

In the end, only the Vancouver Timbers were able to come away as champions at the US Club Soccer National Cup XI in Chicago on Monday. But the Spokane Shadow were one of only three clubs from the region to advance to their bracket's championship game, reaching the U15G Premier final.

Overall, the teams representing the region struggled amongst the national competition in Waukegan, Ill. Only four of the 20 northwest-based teams were able to earn two victories and put themselves in contention to compete for a title – all on the girl’s side of the event. In addition to the Shadow and Timbers, FC Portland and the Northwest Nationals had outstanding results.

The Shadow got off to a great start, earning victories on the first two days by defeating Northern Steel, 3-1, Friday and Classic Eagles, 1-0, on the second day of competition. Knowing they were moving onto the final, the team rested players in the third game and even spent most of the second half with only 10 on the pitch as they dropped a 1-0 decision to the local Chicago Sockers, who were winless in their first two games.

In the final, a pair of long-distance efforts from New Jersey-based Real Magic of the Twin County Soccer Association ended the dream run of the team with a 2-1 result in the championship game. The first was a nice shot from 25 yards that went into the upper left corner midway through the first half. And although the Shadow came out strong in the second half, they got caught with another 30-yard shot tucked inside the post.

Shadow 15G Premier pose with championship cup
Spokane dominated play the rest of the way, and with about 10 minutes left Kelsi Walker delivered on a free kick, a beautiful set play from just outside the corner of the 18 that she put over the keeper and inside the back post. Not bad for someone that spent all day Sunday sick as a dog, throwing up and everything according to head coach Brandon Schreiner.

"My two center backs Kasey Ames and McKenzie Lemer were amazing - absolutely solid players that played every minute of every game," said Schreiner, who went on to note Lemer actually missed the end of the third game, resting after having her foot stepped on. "Our defense the entire weekend was a rotation of six players and all of them were incredible."

The deep squad, led by Cassie Fielding, McKenna Stocker and Erica Simpson, proved to be an important factor for the Shadow, but Schreiner credited the team's heart and told them after the event he was extremely proud of their effort, giving every ounce of energy they had.

"We were pretty banged up by Monday, but you would have never guessed it with how they played."

He also had some praise for one player on the other side, saying the Real Magic center back was phenomal, and a large factor in why the team was so successful. She was part of a unit that withstood a fully dedicated Shadow attack in the final moments.

"We ended the last 15 minutes of the game in a 2-2-6 formation and just pounded their defense, but they held strong and deserved their win."

17G Premier Champion Vancouver Timbers
The Vancouver Timbers, meanwhile, went unbeaten in claiming their championship in the 17G Premier bracket. They finished round-robin play with a 2-0-1 record in their four-team event and went on to defeat EC Aris FC, 5-1, for the championship, topping the previous 5-2 result of their meeting in the tournament opener. The final was level 1-1 at the break before Vancouver put four on the board in the second half to pull away for the title. Maddie Reynolds scored for Vancouver in the first half, and set up the first two goals in the second.

In a dominating display, all four tallies in the final 45 were from Ellie Boon, who was also a standout in the recent WPSL season for the Portland Rain, where she was second on the team and fifth in the division in scoring with four goals. The final was Boon's first action of her trip to the event, sitting out group play with an injury. Prior to her exploits, Nicole Mattson was the star with four goals and three assists.

In the 14G Premier bracket, also a four-team event, Washington Crossfire Premier advanced to the final. The side went 1-1-1 in group play and fell via penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in the final to FCX of Illinois, who also handed them their round-robin loss, 3-2, in their opening game of the event.

The Northwest Nationals joined the Vancouver Timbers as the only northwest teams to finish unbeaten. Unfortunately, playing in a six-team event with cross-group play for the opening round-robin portion, the Nationals went 2-0-1 with the draw proving very costly as the other two teams in their group were perfect against the same opposition.

The three other Inland Northwest clubs at the event went a combined 2-7-0 in the event. The Shadow’s entry in the 16B Super bracket went 0-3-0 while Idaho’s two entries, Idaho Thunder and Valley Thunder, were each 1-2-0. The Idaho Thunder picked up their win on the final day, defeating Ohio Elite Academy, 4-1, in a battle of pride between two winless sides in the 17B Super bracket. Valley Thunder, playing in the 16G Premier bracket, faced a similar situation, getting their victory on the final day in a match with winless Uppr9t Soccer.

Spokane Shadow National Cup XI Rosters

15G Premier - Kasey Ames (Central Valley HS), Amanda Butler (Lewis & Clark HS), Jessica Ellingsen (Lewis & Clark HS), Cassie Fielding (Central Valley HS), Sydney Goldfeldt (Central Valley HS), McKenzie Lemer (Ferris HS), Emma Long (Lewis & Clark HS), Hailey Nypen (Mt. Spokane HS), Megan Oliver (Gonzaga Preparatory HS), Sharaya Roberts (Ferris HS), Jessica Scott (Gonzaga Preparatory HS), Annie Shellerud (Mt. Spokane HS), Erica Simpson (Post Falls HS), McKenna Stocker (Central Valley HS), Kelsi Walker (University HS) and Sydney Weiler (University HS).

16B Super - Max Axtell (Freeman HS), Matt Beaulaurier (Ferris HS), Derek Brock (Ferris HS), Spencer Burr (Lewis & Clark HS), Ricky Carroll (Lakeside HS), Nolan Eldridge (Mead HS), Coleton Fitzgerald (Lewis & Clark HS), Jonathan Galgalo (Ferris HS), Christian Haas (Lewiston HS), Chandler Howard (Ferris HS), Tyrus Larocca (Lewis & Clark HS), Damien Lawson (Medical Lake HS), Tony Manzo (Medical Lake HS), Chase Milligan (Mt. Spokane HS), Diego Morales (University HS), Ben Thompson (Lewis & Clark HS) and Peter Worrall (St. Georges School). Coach: Matt Leonard.

Valley Thunder Roster

16G Premier - Madison Arends (Seattle),Morgan Ashe (Lewiston, ID), Kristi Bartz (Seattle), McKenna Berg (Seattle), Michelle Camerer (Seattle), Natalie Deland (Seattle), Jazman Griggs (Seattle)
Jessica Kloepfer (Lewiston, ID), Brooke Morrow (Clarkston, WA), Lura Morton (Moscow, ID), Cali Moscrip (Lewiston, ID), Tori Newman (Seattle), Madison Taylor (Lewiston, ID), Sam Taylor (Seattle), Mychael Tenwick (Clarkston, WA), Emilee Wiggin (Lewiston, ID). Coaches: Michelle Parson & Kevin Lamb.

Vancouver Timbers National Cup XI 17G Premier Championship Roster

Milla Benedetti, Nicole Blake, Elizabeth Boon, Bianca Caruso, Ana Delgadillo, Diane Dyra, Melissa Foster, Emily Kleier, Sarah Landers, Carlee Maluenda, Rebecca Mattson, Nicole Mattson, Mickayla Mury, Emily Ponce, Maddie Reynolds, Maiah Sharma, Charli Torres and Kirsten Watkins. Coach: Joey Fleming.