ECNL Girls Florida National Event March 2023: Day 2 Recap
The second day of ECNL Florida featured a number of exciting games across a multitude of age groups throughout the day at Premier Sports Campus.
Here is a rundown of some of the top contests from Saturday’s action.
NC Courage vs Internationals SC 1-0
Behind a strong defensive effort, NC Courage held off a tough offensive attack from Internationals SC to pick up a 1-0 win in the 06 age group.
Early in the first half, Gabrielle Ciocca launched a shot from outside the box and placed it perfectly into the upper right corner to give NC Courage the early advantage.
Internationals put a ton of pressure on the NC Courage defense, and saw one of their best chances of the game come from a corner kick in the second half. After the initial clearance from the goalkeeper, Internationals fired another shot on target that was just narrowly cleared off the line. The ball then bounced right out in front again for another great opportunity, but the shot rocketed off the crossbar.
NC Courage was able to see out the 1-0 win, and their head coach, Willie Davis, was happy to see more of a complete effort from his team, compared to their last game.
“We’re normally a complete team, yesterday we were not, and we talked about a few things, ironed them out a bit, and had a good effort,” Davis said.
Jacksonville FC vs Charlotte Independence 3-2
At the 07 age group, Jacksonville FC earned a hard fought come from behind victory over Charlotte Independence.
Jacksonville FC found themselves down 2-1 in the second half when Taliah Brooks slotted a shot into the lower left corner to knot things up at 2-2.
Jacksonville continued to increase the pressure on the Charlotte defense, and soon found their third goal of the game. Izzy Whitaker hit a shot from inside of the box that just tracked into the far post for her second goal of the game, and a goal that would give Jacksonville the 3-2 win.
After the game, Jacksonville FC Director Pat Cannon credited the resiliency his team showed as a major factor in getting the win.
“Today we really saw them finding that little bit of grit and resilience to battle back and really focus on that defensive shape, so I was happy how we finished up,” Cannon said.
Cannon noted that a change in formation helped Jacksonville adjust offensively and get more people in the box on the attack as the game progressed, leading to the two goals that turned the game around.
“We switched up formations so we had a little bit more numbers going forward, so I think just having more numbers in the box helped us out.”
PDA vs GSA 3-1
At the 08 age group, PDA and GSA combined for four second half goals in a thrilling 3-1 PDA victory.
Hayden Tormasi got the scoring started just a few minutes into the second half, but it wasn’t long until GSA answered back with a goal of their own from Layla Melton.
As the game was winding down, PDA began pushing hard on the offensive end to try and find the winning goal. In the 72nd minute their hard work paid off. PDA played a great ball inside the box that was finished off by Kylie Gallagher to give PDA the 2-1 lead.
In the final moments of the game PDA capped things off when Tormasi made a back post run on a corner and was able to put home the third goal of the game and give PDA the 3-1 victory.
PDA Head Coach Michael Smith believed that the first goal from Tormasi gave his team a lot of much needed momentum in the game.
“The first goal is always the hardest goal to score and we talked about throwing your body at the ball, being brave, and gambling inside the box. A lot of times games are won and lost in both 18-yard boxes, and Hayden Tormasi had the first goal. That gave everyone a massive lift and we needed it,” Smith said.
Kings Hammer SC vs FC Delco 2-1
Also at the 08 age group, Kings Hammer rallied back to score a dramatic late winner in their 2-1 win over FC Delco.
Riley Karpinski got FC Delco on the board first in the opening half. They were able to take that 1-0 lead into the half.
In the second half, Kings Hammer began controlling some more of the play. In the 56th minute, Charlee Siria was able to find the back of the net and level things up at 1-1. Both teams continued to generate some good chances in the final 20 minutes of the game, with the best chance coming when Kings Hammer rattled the crossbar from a long distance shot.
In the 79th minute, the breakthrough came when Kings Hammer was awarded a penalty. Siria buried the penalty to give her team a 2-1 lead right before the final whistle blew.
After the win, Kings Hammer Head Coach Chris Black talked about the importance of his team’s mentality and how that played a strong factor in their victory.
“We talked about our mentality and continuing to work for each other, and I thought we did a much better job of our principles of play, closing space and not allowing them to get out,” Black said.