ECNL Finals conclude with close battles all around in title matches
Richmond, Va. – The 2014 ECNL Finals came to a thrilling conclusion on Thursday at West Creek, with four of the six championship matches coming down to a one-goal margin, and the other two being decided by two goals.
San Diego Surf (U15), Eclipse Select (U16) and Dallas Sting (U17) claimed Champions League titles, and Maryland United (U15), Solar Chelsea SC (U16) and FC Bucks (U17) won the North American League divisions.
Richmond United won the U23 title, which wrapped up on Monday.
U15 – San Diego Surf 1, PDA 0
San Diego Surf used an outstanding team defensive effort and a goal in the third minute by Ana Gil to take home the trophy over PDA, who still emerged as the overall club winner. Surf won three of their matches and tied once at the ECNL Finals, scoring 10 goals and conceding just four.
U16 – Eclipse Select 3, Dallas Texans 1
Two second half goals by Eclipse Select allowed them to pull away and win an ECNL National Championship for the second year in a row. Alia Martin gave Eclipse an early lead in the 20th minute, but Maddie Dorsett countered in the 34th for Texans. Lea Waddle netted the game-winner for Eclipse in the 58th, and Marissa Bosco added an insurance goal 11 minutes later as the Chicago-area side defended their title.
U17 – Dallas Sting 1, Eclipse Select SC 0
Dallas Sting ran the table in the U17 Champions League, going 4-0-0 with 13 goal scored and just two given up. Thursday’s championship matchup with Eclipse Select would prove to be their most difficult match, as Sting emerged with a narrow 1-0 victory to claim the title.
North American League
U15 – Maryland United 1, SLSG 0
Maryland United’s U15 squad earned a second consecutive shutout and scored the game’s only goal in the first half of extra time to claim the North American League U15 title in their first-ever trip to the ECNL Finals. SLSG had several chances deep in United’s defensive third throughout the match, but the back line held strong. Jaimie Layfield came through with the game-winner for United.
“It’s really fun, and it’s really exciting for these kids,” said United coach Mellanie Nai. “To go from where we were last year to win a national championship is amazing. Our defense today was great, and in a championship game that’s what it comes down to. They’ve been solid all year long, and whoever plays in the back for us gives a great, honest effort, and that’s why we won.”
U16 – Solar Chelsea SC 2, McLean Youth Soccer 0
Allie Thornton’s first half brace led Solar Chelsea to a North American League championship victory over McLean. Thornton’s two goals in an eight-minute span, in addition to a lockdown defensive effort by the Solar Chelsea defense propelled the team to a title and a perfect 4-0-0 tournament. The team scored nine goals and conceded just won at the ECNL Finals.
U17 – FC Bucks 2, Internationals SC 1
Dakota Mills of the FC Bucks U17s earns the unofficial Golden Boot with a seven-goal performance on the weekend, leading her team to a North American League championship win. Mills added two more goals on Thursday, in the 32nd and 43rd minute, which was just enough to hold on in regulation. Internationals pulled within striking distance in the 58th minute, but the Bucks defense held strong the rest of the way.