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ECNL Aug 16, 2011

ECNL all-stars wrap up England tour with 7-0 dispatching of Aston Villa U-17s

By Chris Hummer

The Elite Clubs National League international select team wrapped up their seven-day trip to England on Sunday with a convincing 7-0 win over Aston Villa’s Under-17 ladies team. It was the third win by a wide margin for the team of all-stars chosen from last February’s id2/ECNL national camp for girls born in 1994/95.

Summer Green continued her impressive run on this trip, scoring her fourth and fifth goals overall, clinching the team’s golden boot award. Morgan Andrews added two of her own, bringing her total for the trip to three. Both players have been called into next week’s U-17 U.S. National Team camp at the Home Depot Center in California.

Real So Cal’s Kristina Konkol-Mroczkowski made her debut in Sunday’s match after suffering an ankle injury minutes into the squad’s first practice session upon arriving in England on August 9. She worked diligently with team trainer Emily Fortunato all week hoping to heal enough to simply see some minutes. The Malibu, Calif. native did more than that, earning the start and immediately making an impact by notching the first goal of the match, while coming close on several others.

Central defender Claire Wagner got on the scoreboard for the first time as well, heading home a Summer Green corner kick from six yards in the final five minutes. It was a just reward for a solid performance in anchoring the stingy ECNL defense all tour.

The star of the trip, however, was as-yet uncommitted playmaker Nickolette “Nikki” Driesse, who earned the golden-ball winner as the best overall player. She figured in almost every goal of trip either as a primary or secondary assist provider, and notched two goals of her own in an impressive fashion – including the team’s fifth at Aston Villa.

The PDA Charge playmaker always seemed to be around the ball, and was equally as good at taking people on as she was at threading passes to players in scoring positions. Of the 17 total goals scored (not including one own goal at Bristol) by the ECNL side on the trip, Driesse had two herself, five primary assists and two secondary assists. She also earned the PK she scored against Villa.

The fact that she has not been called in to any national team camps seems to be a perfect example of the value of the ECNL setup and trips such as these. Considering the company she kept in England (six other players were just called into the U-17 National Team camp), supported by the video highlights and backed by the endorsement of respected team coaches Jay Howell and Chris King, a call-up may not be far off.

Yet to single out Driesse as the only top performer would not be fair. It might be more appropriate to say that literally every player on the ECNL trip made their own case for taking things to the next level. Given the lengthy travel, zero preparation time and very little prior experience playing together for most of the group, the sheer quality of the team was more than impressive.

Having wrapped up a successful trip in spite of the social unrest that gripped the streets of London last week and disrupted their itinerary, the ECNL all-stars flew back to the United States on Monday morning. With ECNL’s 2011-12 league calendar opening this coming weekend, many members of the squad will almost immediately transition into another long, testing season of club play, while another six will join the U.S. U-17 National Team at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

ECNL 7 – 0 Aston Villa U-17 Ladies
Sunday, Aug. 14, 2011

Scoring summary:
ECNL: Kristiana Konkol-Mroczkowski
ECNL: Summer Green
ECNL: Morgan Andrews
ECNL: Morgan Andrews
ECNL: Nikki Driese
ECNL: Claire Wagner
ECNL: Summer Green

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