With less than a month remaining in the ECNL regular season, Champions League playoffs spots are coming down to the wire as teams continue to battle for higher seeds and secure their place in the postseason. Several Mid-Atlantic Conference teams earned critical points over the weekend, strengthening their playoff push.
Ohio Valley Division leader Ohio Premier picked up another win, improving to 18-1-1 and taking over the No. 1 overall spot in the nation at the U-14 level. Premier blanked Internationals SC 1-0 on Saturday, picking up its fourth clean sheet already in the month of May.
FC Virginia, the Chesapeake Division frontrunner and the No. 3 team overall at the U-14 level, earned four of six points on the weekend with a win and a draw against its Maryland neighbors. FCV played Maryland United FC to a scoreless draw on Saturday before defeating Bethesda SC 3-0 on Sunday in a pair of home matches.
Bethesda and Maryland United each earned wins over McLean Youth Soccer as well during their weekend in Northern Virginia. Bethesda edged out McLean 1-0 on Saturday, and United defeated McLean 2-0 on Sunday morning behind a brace from midfielder Camber Hayes. Forward Nadia Wilson notched an assist, and has now scored or set up 13 goals on the season for United.
Maggie Pierce View Bio
HS Grad: 2019
Position: Midfielder, Defender
College: (North Carolina)
CASL earned a pair of victories on the weekend, starting with a 4-0 win while hosting Ohio Elite Soccer Academy. Maggie Pierce started the scoring and was followed by Emily Sapienza, who found the net on a nice assist from Jeana Freeman. Zora Jackson then blasted in two goals to finish the match.
CASL moved on to a tough encounter with Indiana Fire Juniors in a match where the lead exchanged hands several times. Bayleigh Humbert and Makaya Parham scored for CASL to take an early lead, but the Fire countered with scores from a corner, direct kick and penalty kick. Down 3-2, Pierce moved up from defense with five minutes to spare, feeding Sapienza for the tying score. Mara Tate stepped up with the game-winner a minute later in an exciting finish, as CASL took the 4-3 victory and improved to 9-2-4 in conference play as the team sits in second place in the Chesapeake Division.
Richmond United picked up two points in draws against Indiana Fire Juniors and Ohio Elite Soccer Academy, both ending in 2-2 scorelines. Julia Edwards had an assist in each game for Richmond, bringing her team-leading season total to six. Audrey Jervey scored a goal in both contests, while Kaitlyn Butcher and Anna Winslow each found the net as well. Alexandra Horner also tallied an assist in Sunday’s match at West Creek Complex.
Saturday, May 14
Bethesda SC 1, McLean Youth Soccer 0
CASL 4, Ohio Elite Soccer Academy 0
Richmond United 2, Indiana Fire Juniors 2
FC Virginia 0, Maryland United FC 0
Ohio Premier 1, Internationals SC 0
Ohio Valley Division leader Bethesda SC continued its success against conference opponents with a 3-0 shutout of Ohio Elite Soccer Academy and a 1-1 draw against Indiana Fire Juniors. Bethesda, the No. 27 Champions League seed, continued its balanced scoring attack with three different players finding the net in Saturday’s victory at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Maliah Morris scored one and assisted another, while Juliana Lynch and Grace Sherman each netted as well for the top offense in the division.
Maliah Morris View Bio
Club: Bethesda SC
Another playoff-bound side, Ohio Premier, notched a 2-0 clean sheet win over in-state foe Internationals SC on Saturday. Premier improved to 10-6-1 overall with the win, and now holds the No. 18 Champions League seed.
Playing through tumultuous weather in a home match at McDonogh School on Saturday, Maryland United FC picked up an important three points in its playoff push with a 2-1 win over Indiana Fire Juniors. Julianna Bonner and Annabel Hofmann provided the scoring for Maryland United. On Sunday, United played Ohio Elite to a 1-1 draw, as Kaitlyn Parks set up Meaghan O’Donovan for the host side’s lone score. United is now No. 10 in the Wild Card standings for the Champions League playoffs, four places behind FC Bucks for the sixth and final Wild Card seed.
No. 6 overall U-16 seed Indiana Fire Juniors continued to roll, earning two more wins over the weekend on a road trip to Maryland. Butler University 2018 commit Katherine Soderstrom and Samford University 2018 commit Erin Patterson each scored in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Maryland United, set up by Florida State 2018 commit Kristina Lynch and Gretchen Mills. Indiana went on to defeat Bethesda 2-1 on Sunday, improving to 14-1-5 on the season.
Loren Sefcik View Bio
HS Grad: 2018
Club: Internationals SC
Internationals SC, the fourth place team in the Ohio Valley Division, earned a 2-0 upset victory over No. 17 Champions League seed Ohio Premier. It marked just the third loss of the season for Ohio Premier, which dropped to 10-3-7. West Virginia University 2018 commit Jordan Brewster continued her impressive season for Internationals SC in the win, scoring once and assisting U.S. Youth National Team forward Loren Sefcik on the other. Brewster and Sefcik have now combined for 22 goals and 15 assists on the season.
Ohio Elite Soccer Academy had another big weekend, shutting out Bethesda SC and Maryland United FC by a combined scoreline of 7-0. Ohio Elite, the No. 14 Champions League seed, climbed to 14-3-4 overall on the season, with 49 goals compared to just 29 allowed.
Arianna Green View Bio
HS Grad: 2017
Club: Maryland United
Position: Midfielder, Defender
College: Maryland (Committed)
Both Bethesda and Maryland United earned victories over Ohio Valley Division leader Indiana Fire Juniors, the team’s first two conference losses of the season. Maryland United blanked Indiana 2-0 on Saturday, receiving goals from defender Jordin Anderson and forward Jamie Shiflett, coming on assists from midfielder Maria Gentile and defender Arianna Green. Green and Rachel Kim continued to anchor the United back line, as the team recorded its sixth shutout in its last nine matches.
Jamie Shiflett View Bio
HS Grad: 2016
Club: Maryland United
Position: Forward, Midfielder
Bethesda handed Indiana its second loss to a Mid-Atlantic Conference opponent of the season on Sunday, winning 4-0 behind an overpowering effort on both ends of the pitch. Kori Locksley showed her brilliant playmaking abilities, racking up three assists in the match. Midfielder Olivia Kane had a brace, while Maria Harrington and Ashley Ventura each scored as well. Cameron Murtha also notched her team-leading 12 assist of the season.
Ohio Valley Division leader and the ECNL Champions League’s No. 6 seed Maryland United FC improved to 14-2-1 overall with 4-1 and 2-0 wins over Indiana Fire Juniors and Ohio Elite Soccer Academy at home. Maryland United extended its current ECNL winning streak to five, outscoring opponents 16-2 in that span.
Internationals SC, The No. 7 overall team at the U-18 level, outlasted Ohio Premier 2-1 on Saturday morning. Evelyn Lavelle netted both goals, once assisted by Baylee Price. Internationals climbed to 13-3-1 overall, holding the top Wild Card seed.