By Jimmy Laroue
Midlothian, Va. – After playing to a scoreless 80 minutes and exchanging goals in overtime, VSA Heat 96G defeated FASA Elite Impact 96 in penalties to take a 2-1 win and advance to the Under-15 Girls Virginia State Cup finals, where it will face PWSI Courage 96 Red, 2-0 winners over Beach FC U15G Red in a busy day of thrilling semifinals at SportsQuest in Midlothian.
Neither VSA Heat nor FASA Elite Impact could break through in regulation, with FASA holding firm defensively while VSA Heat retained the majority of possession.
“We talked about that, because they play all compact in the back and just play [for] the counterattack,” said VSA Heat coach Gus Donolo. “We have possession and possessed, but if you don’t find the net, that’s what happens. Soccer, you’ve got to find the net early, or else the game gets complicated, and at the end we could have lost.”
However, Becca Callison got the first goal of the match early in the first half of overtime, trapping a ball at the top of the box and putting her shot past the FASA goalkeeper to give VSA Heat a 1-0 lead.
FASA pressed for an equalizer, however, and got it less than a minute before the end of overtime from Shannon Wratchford.The forward scored on a 16-yard shot, sneaking it through a maze of players before it was deflected, but not stopped, by the Heat goalkeeper.
But the FASA squad, playing with a field player in goal after their starting goalkeeper went down earlier in the season with an ACL knee injury, was not able to net any of their penalties, while VSA Heat converted theirs for the win.
“We were lucky we won on PKs, but it was unnecessary to get all the way there, having possession for so long,” Donolo said. “But possession has to be with a purpose.”
VSA Heat 96G will face PWSI Courage 96 Red, 2-0 winners against Beach FC U15G Red in the finals this afternoon.
The semifinal round was pushed back by a week due to inclement weather in Virginia Beach, the original site of the semifinal State Cup round. Instead, with SAT testing going on and potential weather issues in mind, the semifinals and finals of the State Cup were moved to the artificial turf fields of the sprawling SportsQuest campus.
PWSI Courage 96 Red 2
Beach FC U15G Red 0
VSA Heat 96G 1 (3-0 PKs)
FASA Elite Impact 96 1
How they got to the final:
PWSI Courage 96 Red
vs Beach FC Black 5-0 W
vs Richmond Kickers Elite 4-2 W
vs Beach FC U15G Red 2-0 W
VSA Heat 96G
vs BRYC 96 Elite 7-0 W
vs CHU United FC Puma 96G 3-1 W
vs FASA Elite Impact 2-1 W (PKs)