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ECNL Dec 05, 2012

ECNL: CASL Chelsea Ladies on pace for repeat championship

By Jimmy LaRoue

With nearly all of its team committed to top Division I women’s soccer programs, CASL Chelsea Ladies U-18s figure to contend for another ECNL championship.

Cameron Castleberry, a University of North Carolina commit, picked up a hat trick along with an assist in an easy 11-0 win over VSI West FL Flames to give her six goals on the season. Alexis Shaffer, who has committed to Virginia, and Joanna Boyles, also committed to North Carolina, scored two goals each.

Boyles has a team high nine goals on the season, but she’s one of six CASL players with at least six goals, along with Castleberry, Alexis Degler (6 goals/8 assists), Bria Dixon (7 goals), Paige Reckert (7 goals) and Shaffer (7 goals)

Degler had a goal and three assists, and Betsy Middleton had two assists in the win.

It was nothing like the game in October between the two teams, a 1-1 draw in which they played without Boyles in the midfield.

CASL is now 10-0-3 on the season and plays Charlotte Soccer Academy Dec. 15 before heading down to Sanford, Fla. for the ECNL’s second National Event of the season at the end of the month.

Boyles, Castleberry and Maya Worth, also a UNC commit, went up against future teammate Summer Green last season in winning the ECNL championship.

Needless to say, North Carolina, who just won yet another national championship, will be loaded once again next season.

CASL’s opponents in last year’s ECNL championship game, Michigan Hawks (10-1-2), sit in second place in the Midwest Conference standings, just a point and a small points-per-game percentage behind Eclipse Select Soccer Club (11-2-0).

Hawks are coming off a 1-1 tie against third place Sporting Blue Valley (4-1-1)–in the early stages of its season–and a 4-1 win at Minnesota Thunder Academy (2-3-0) over the weekend.

Other U-18 teams, such as Colorado Rush (9-1-1), Dallas Texans (11-1-0) as well as two contenders in CASL’s own conference–Carolina Elite Soccer Academy (9-2-1) and Concorde Fire (10-3-1) will undoubtedly keep the pressure on and try to deny CASL a third-straight championship.

Other strong teams in the other conferences are still in the early stages of their seasons and will look to make noise as well.

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