CCL teams highlight Va. State Cup Championships with late-game heroics
Fredericksburg, Va. – There was no shortage of late-game drama and heroics at the 2014 Virginia State Cup U15-U18 Final Four, as four of the eight championship matches were decided by one goal, and two others went all the way to penalty kicks. Teams representing the Club Champions League captured seven titles, several against fellow CCL sides.
The final title match of the afternoon on Sunday went 11 rounds of PKs between two-time defending state champion Arlington Soccer Association and challenger Virginia Legacy, with the underdog Legacy squad riding their red-hot goalkeeper Jay Fox to an upset win as Fox himself netted the winning tally.
WATCH: Round 11 of PKs between Virginia Legacy and Arlington SA
Following a scoreless regulation and two overtime periods in which Fox made several critical saves to keep his team alive, including a brilliant double save (seen below) in the second overtime off an Arlington corner kick, each side went 8-of-10 before it came down to the goalkeepers shooting against each other. Arlington’s Ward Anderson, who was also phenomenal in net for the reigning champs, banged his shot off the front of the left post which opened the door for Fox to roll the winner into the right side of the goal.
“To be honest, kicking a ball is not (Fox’s) strong suit but it was only fitting that he got to force the miss and then step up to kick the game-winner,” said Legacy Head Coach Bobby O’Brien, who is also the club’s Technical and Executive Director. “Jay is a senior this year, currently undecided but if any colleges were watching today, I wouldn’t be surprised if they come knocking on our door.”
WATCH: Virginia Legacy goalkeeper Jay Fox’s game-breaking double save in 2OT
Virginia Legacy spent time preparing for a potential State Cup Championship-deciding PK shootout throughout the week, but had actually lost four straight times to a younger Legacy team who they had been training with.
“We didn’t have too much faith in ourselves going into PKs after how training went, but I think the emotions of the game, and the size of the moment playing against the two-time defending state champs played a big part in our guys stepping up,” O’Brien told SoccerWire.com.
The first championship match of the morning on Sunday, which also took place between two CCL teams, came down to PKs as well with Loudoun Soccer defeating Braddock Road Youth Club in the Girls U16 Final. Loudoun prevailed 4-3 in the shootout after a scoreless regulation and two overtime periods as seemingly constant heavy wind gusts dramatically altered the flow of play.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the energy our players brought, and their camaraderie and support for each other,” said Loudoun coach Randy May at his team’s trophy presentation. “They held strong and stayed together, and in the end were able to come out on top.”
Along with extremely even competition and tight finishes almost across the board, the common thread in the Virginia State Cup Finals were CCL teams capturing titles in all but one of the eight divisions. Despite losing in the U17 division, Arlington had an impressive showing as a club, winning the U15 and U16 boys championships at the VYSA Training Center’s grand opening event. The U15 Eagles Red knocked off fellow CCL side BRYC 99 Elite 2-1 in comeback fashion with the winning goal coming in the waning minutes of the second half, and the U16 Arlington Attack overpowered BRYC 98 Elite 3-0.
“VYSA’s facility is incredible, and it was nice to see all the quality teams representing CCL,” said Arlington coach Anthony Damiani. “Braddock Road and Arlington had a lot of teams, and there were great games wherever you looked.”
“It was a great win played against a great opponent, I thought thety took it to us in the first half, but we had a lot of good energy in the secnond half and pulled it out,” said Damiani on his U15 team’s 2-1 triumph over BRYC. “We showed some great heart, and now we’re looking to get to Oklahoma (for the 2015 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships.)”
Arlington’s U16s scored a late first half goal and exploded for two more in the second half to defeat BRYC one day after knocking off a highly-touted Loudoun squad in the semifinals.
WATCH: Arlington U16 Attack take a 1-0 lead on BRYC
The seven Virginia State Cup champions representing the CCL include: Loudoun 98 Red (U16 Girls), McLean 97 Girls Green (U17 Girls), McLean 96 Girls Green (U18 Girls), Arlington Eagles Red (U15 Boys), Arlington Attack Red (U16 Boys), Virginia Legacy CCL Elite (U17 Boys) and Annandale United FC 96 (U18 Boys).
FC Virginia United Premier 99 won the U15 Girls title, edging out WAGS side Herndon United 99 1-0.