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Girls Jul 27, 2016

CUP Gold U-15 Girls claim US Youth Soccer national semifinal bid

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FRISCO, Texas (Via US Youth Soccer) — After coming up one spot short of the semifinals a year ago, Under-15 Girls CUP Gold 00/01 (OH-S) secured a spot in the next round on Wednesday with its second win of the week.

In a matchup of US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers, CUP held off familiar foe FC Pride 01 Elite (IN) for a 2-0 victory to secure a place in the semifinals at the 2016 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Frisco, Texas.

“It’s good for our girls to play these level of games,” CUP coach Bobby Puppione said. “Teams we see in the National League, as well as at the National Championships, it shows the quality of play needed and ability of our own team to be successful against those quality teams. I’m definitely proud of the performance today.”

+Read: US Youth Soccer National Championships Day 1 Recap

It took just two minutes for CUP to grab an advantage against the National League Red Division champions. Cincinnati’s Anna Podojil, who led the 2015-16 National League and 2015 Region II Championships, beat her defender to the end line and played a low cross to the back post, where Paige Elliott finished the play off to put CUP in front.

Soon after, Pride threatened the CUP goal with a dangerous free kick that flew just over the crossbar. CUP quickly got back on the attack and eventually earned a corner kick in the 17th minute. After the initial corner was cleared, the ball was played back into the box, and Podojil settled it and hit it home to double the Ohio South side’s advantage.

Puppione said his team’s first goal changed the outlook of the game, while the second one adjusted the way both teams approached the remaining hour of play. FC Pride did well to keep the pressure on, but CUP remained organized to repel any threats of a comeback.

+Read: U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team roster named for Michigan camp

“FC Pride had some good moments, but I thought our girls handled those moments well,” Puppione said, “And we were able to get the win and move on to 2-0 in the group.”

The shutout was the first clean sheet at the National Championships for the Ohio South side, after CUP went 1-2-0 last year in group play. CUP goalkeeper Adrianna Brewer said her back line does well to communicate and remain on the same page, and Wednesday was an example of that cohesiveness.

With a spot in the semifinals secured, CUP is excited to take the next step in the quest to achieve its ultimate goal — to win the National Championship.

“It feels great because last year we came here and didn’t do so well,” Brewer said. “Coming here for our second time, we really wanted to be able to make it to the semis and finals, and we’re hoping to get to that point.”

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