ECNL U-15: Two goals a confidence boost for PDA’s Paige Monaghan in shutout win over Dallas Texans
By Jimmy LaRoue
WAUKEGAN, Ill.–Paige Monaghan picked up her first two goals since coming back from injury, and they couldn’t have come at a better time for her and PDA, who defeated highly-regarded Dallas Texans 2-0 to move onto the ECNL Under-15 Flight A semifinals.
“She was composed and took two very good shots and scored them,” said PDA coach Billy Bustamante.
PDA moves on to a semifinal matchup today against Colorado Rush, which came from behind in the final minutes to defeat Eclipse Select 2-1 in overtime.
“I thought the whole team played well overall,” Bustamante said. “We were very offensive minded. We played great soccer, which I was proud of.”
Monaghan’s two goals included a long-range golazo that Bustamante said was a bit lucky, as she slipped on striking the shot, which also had some friendly, wind-aided assistance.
“I was going up there and was trying to be relaxed,” Monaghan said. “I was like, alright, nice cross and I saw my friend LK (Lizzie Kinkler) coming in and I just slipped and it went over into the upper 90 on the left side.”
The two goals were a definite confidence booster for Monaghan.
“I’ve been having struggles,” Monaghan said. “I’ve been coming back from Achillies tendonitis, so it’s been kind of rough getting back into everything. I feel more confident in myself and the team, and I know we can finish this off and win it.”
While this is her first year with the team, she has teammates experienced in big games, and they’re looking forward to the challenge of a national semifinal.
“I’m new to this team, and they’ve been in this position before, but it’s a great feeling,” Monaghan said. “You feel so confident. You’re playing these great group of teams, great clubs and great girls, all talented, and when we can work together to just build that win, it’s just a great and indescribable feeling.”
Her first came off a well-placed pass from Montana Sutton, who played it over the top. Monaghan ran onto it, took a touch outside, and shot the ball through the goalkeeper’s hands and in the side netting.
Bustamante said he sees an increasing maturity by his players in accepting the game and the challenges that come from each one.
“The thing has been, we’ve talked about one game at a time, trying to win each half of each game,” Bustamante said. “Right now I think we’re feeling good. The Texans are a really good team. I thought Michigan Hawks were a very good team in the first game (a 1-0 win). I feel good about coming out and getting two good results, and going up against [Colorado Rush].
“I know every game down here, every team is good. The challenge is there. I think that any team down here in the top 16 could beat each other any time.”
Monaghan said the team is ready, focused on the task at hand and visualizes the success it is having.
“Our coach really talks to us, and his perspective is like, ‘It’s never good enough. You just have to keep going, keep working and you have to get mentally and physically focused,’” Monaghan said.