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ECNL Sep 11, 2012

ECNL: Va. Rush’s U-14s, U-15s open with wins over Richmond Strikers

By Jimmy LaRoue

While Virginia Rush’s older age groups did not get off to a strong start to the 2012-13 Elite Clubs National League season, their Under-14 and U-15 teams fared better, with both picking up shutout wins Saturday over the Richmond Strikers at the Hampton Roads Soccer Complex.

The U-14 Rush side got two goals from Haley Young, another goal on a 30-yard blast from Kaitlyn Boccella and an assist from Anna Longacher in the 3-0 win.

Both clubs’ U-14s were working out their opening match jitters, and despite the shutout loss, Megan Skevington had a strong game in midfield for the Strikers, who improved as the game went along, with both Mia Jackson and Ellis Credle getting off quality shots, but neither could find the back of the net.

The two clubs’ U-15 matchup was scoreless until about seven minutes into the second half, when Rush scored three goals in three minutes to break the match open, also winning 3-0 over the Strikers.

Jordan Marshall scored first for Rush on a tap-in after the Strikers’ goalkeeper made the initial save. Midfielder Lauren Martin next scored and then Amanda Charalambous put home a rebound from Madeline Malooly’s shot to cap off the scoring.

The Strikers’ Allison Collins had an apparent goal called back late in the match for offside.

And while Rush’s U-16s, U-17s and U-18s lost their opening matches against their Strikers’ counterparts, Rush director of coaching Brian Cvilikas said this year’s outlook is much better than a year ago. Last season, each of Rush’s ECNL teams finished in last in the Southeast Conference, going a combined 7-70-8 in the Southeast Conference (U-18s: 3-12-2; U-17s: 2-14-1;   U-16s: 0-15-2; U-15s: 2-14-1; U-14s 0-15-2).

“As a club, we continually need to be better in front of goal,” Cvilikas said. “But the soccer from the midfield third to the defensive third is fantastic, and as a club, we’re continuing to close the gap.

“Last year was a little rough on the ECNL side, results-wise, but I think we’re preaching the right messages to [the players]. The girls are into it. They’re training hard. They’re working hard. I’m excited about moving forward into this year. I think we’re going to have some good results.”