Leesburg, VA – Three Loudoun Soccer teams entered the recent VYSA State Cup final four and one, the 98 Boys Red, came home a winner, giving Loudoun Soccer its third State Cup title in two years.
Loudoun 98 Red beat the SYC Strikers 3-0 on October 27 in the U15 boys final. The Loudoun 95 Boys Red lost in the U18 boys championship game that day to ABGC United on penalty kicks after playing to a 1-1 tie. On October 26 the 95 Girls Red lost 3-1 in a semifinal to BRYC 95 Elite.
A sturdy defense keyed the run to the title for the 98 Red Boys, its second consecutive State Cup win. They allowed one goal while scoring 17 in five tournament games. Goalkeeper Colin Shutler anchored four shutout wins and played every minute of the tournament.
“Defense was the rock we built our play on,” said head coach Mark Ryan. “We know we don’t have to score too many goals because of how well we defend.”
Still, the 98 Boys scored in bunches. They won the first game of the State Cup 5-0 and the second 6-1. Dorian Dixon, Gio Vasquez, Jacob Labowitz and Stephen Foss led the Red’s attack. Labowitz, Dixon and Foss scored in the championship game and Vasquez scored the second goal in a 2-0 semifinal win. Emin Karic anchored the midfield, playing all of the semifinal and final games and having a role in three of the teams five goals in the final four. “
When we attacked we countered with speed,” said Ryan. “We created a ton of chances in both games.”
With Ryan as coach, Loudoun 98 Red won the U14 State Cup last spring but lost in the Region 1 championship game. The loss helped motivate the team to win the State Cup this year.
“As soon as we lost the final, the first thing we said was we would win the State cup again,” he said. “The boys never looked like they wavered from their goals.” Loudoun 98 Red will play in the 2014 U.S. Youth Soccer Region 1 Championship in June. The ’95 Boys Red won the first boys State Cup title for Loudoun Soccer in 2012. This year they won their semifinal, 4-3 in overtime over Beach FC before losing in the final.
“We are obviously hugely disappointing but I could not be prouder of the boys in the way we played in both games,” said head coach John O’Hara. “Last year we talked about creating a legacy for future Loudoun boys teams. Hopefully this inspires many of our younger teams to go onto to greater things.”