Final and semifinal matchups set at US Youth Soccer Region III Championships
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Via US Youth Soccer) — Ten teams have played their way into the final matches of their groups, and the remaining semifinals are at set at the 2015 US Youth Soccer Region III (South) Championships in North Little Rock, Ark.
After Tuesday’s games at the Burns Park Soccer Complex, the final pairings are now known for the Under-13 and Under-19 age groups, as well as the Under-18 Girls. Another set of teams have inched closer to competing for the US Youth Soccer Region III Championship, as Tuesday’s quarterfinal games saw teams in the Under-17 Boys and Girls and Under-18 Boys age groups take the next step in their quest for the Regional title — advancing to their respective semifinals.
Under-18 Girls 97 Louisiana Fire Navy (LA) is heading to its third straight Region III Championships final after holding on for a tight win in its semifinal against FC Alliance 97 TNSL1 (TN). The Fire beat Alliance in the 2013 final before falling in overtime of last year’s championship game to Maitland 96/97 Florida Krush Black (FL). Now, the Louisiana side is excited for a chance to get back to Nationals before many of the players begin their college careers.
“That’s in the back of everyone’s mind. It could be the last time the girls are together, and we want to go out with a bang,” Fire coach Stephen McAnespie said. “Getting to Nationals has been a huge goal since the start of the season, and we’re one step away from it.”
In order to get to the Region III Championships final, teams must be on top of their games for the entire week, as each opponent competes for the ticket to Nationals in its age group. Whether it’s an experienced former champion or a newcomer to the tournament, McAnespie knows what it means for a team to earn the chance to play for a title.
“It’s huge to get to the final three years in a row, but it’s huge to get there just one year at a time,” McAnespie said. “A lot of teams will tell you how tough it is to get to the final in any given year. Doing it three times in a row is huge for the team, but at the end of the day we haven’t achieved anything yet.”
Some highlights from Tuesday’s semifinals…
The Under-18 Girls semifinals featured a rematch of the 2013 Region III final between 97 Louisiana Fire Navy (LA) and FC Alliance 97 TNSL1 (TN). LA Fire, the 2013 champs, dominated the first 45 minutes to take a 4-0 lead into halftime. A fifth-minute own goal put the Fire up early, and Alexandra Thomas placed a penalty kick inside the right post to double the lead. Thomas finished another opportunity in the 28th minute before assisting on Mia Dubroc’s 37th-minute goal. Each tally proved necessary for the Louisiana side, as FC Alliance fought back into the game in the second half. After an own goal made it 4-1, Alliance’s Tecora Turner received a square ball in front of goal and tapped it home to make it 4-2. The Tennessee side pulled within one in the 90th minute when Margaret Burkett’s ball flew through a crowded penalty area and found the back of the net. However, the Fire closed out the final few minutes of stoppage time to hold on for a 4-3 victory and advance to the Region III final for the third straight year. The Fire will face AHFC 97 (TX-S) in the final after the Texas side won its semifinal, 1-0.
“We should have handled the game a little bit better, but kudos to the other team. They really fought hard and brought themselves back into it,” Fire coach Stephen McAnespie said. “We’ve seen this so many times over the years with different teams. You’ve got to play the whole 90 minutes because teams here have pride and there’s something on the line to play for. A spot in that final is a coveted spot.”
In its first trip to Regionals, Creeks Krush Elite (FL) are heading to the final after a 1-0 win in its semifinal matchup with Sting 02 Higginbotham (TX-N). The Under-13 Girls sides played an evenly matched contest, with the lone goal coming when the Krush’s Taylor Radecki found the back of the net in the 21st minute. The Florida side’s defense, which has allowed just one goal this week, continued its fine play while keeping a clean sheet. Creeks Krush will face Albion Hurricanes 02 (TX-S) in the final after the Texas side won its semifinal, 2-0. Albion has also featured great play by its back line, as it has yet to concede a goal this week.
In Under-13 Boys action, SCUFC 01 Elite (SC) came away with a 2-0 win in its semifinal against Group A winner Lonestars 02 Red (TX-S). After a scoreless first half, SCUFC took a 45th-minute lead when Leslie Jones found the back of the net. Lonestars pressured SCUFC as it looked to create an equalizer, but Halim Ransom netted an insurance goal for the South Carolina side to help seal the 2-0 win. SCUFC will face Solar Chelsea 02 Red (TX-N) in the final after the Texas side won its semifinal, 5-2.
The run to the Region III title came to a halt on Wednesday for local side Under-19 Girls Arkansas United, which fell, 2-0, to BUSA 96 (AL). The last remaining team from the host state fell behind in the 13th minute when BUSA’s Tori Gann found the back of the net. BUSA managed to fend off United’s push for an equalizer and added an insurance goal from Camryn Lyster in the 70th minute. BUSA will face 2013 Region III finalist Tampa Bay United Premier (FL) in the final after the Florida side won its semifinal, 1-0.
Under-19 Boys sides GSA 96 Premier (GA) and FC Dallas 96 Premier (TX-N) met in a rematch of last year’s Region III Championship final during Tuesday’s semifinal round in Arkansas. Once again, GSA came out on top, as it held off FC Dallas to win, 2-1. Ricardo Gomez put GSA in front in the 52nd minute, only to see Anthony Powell answer five minutes later for the Texas side. GSA managed to regain momentum and the lead when Robert Grunow found the back of the net in the 69th minute. That proved to be the winning goal, as GSA earned a chance to defend its title in Wednesday’s final against TSCH 96 Nsien (OK), which won its semifinal, 3-1.
Some highlights from Tuesday’s quarterfinals…
After bowing out in a quarterfinal shootout last year, 2013 Region III Champion Bryson Park/ KSA 97 Premier (GA) is out to regain its title after a 4-1 Under-18 Boys quarterfinal win over BRSC/CSC Alliance 97 (LA) on Tuesday. Heriberto Sevilla put KSA up in the 10th minute, and Josiah Baker netted a pair of goals in quick succession to give the Georgia side a 3-0 advantage. Kade Kling pulled Alliance within 3-1 in the 63rd minute, but KSA responded a few minutes later with a Mohamed Diakite strike to seal the 4-1 win.
Three-time defending Region III Champion Tennessee SC 16 (TN) is moving on to the Under-17 Girls semifinals after a 2-0 win Tuesday against Classics Elite 98 (TX-S). Tennessee had its hands full with Classics, as the South Texas side remained level with the defending champs for nearly an hour of play. Tennessee managed to break through in the 55th minute on a goal from U.S. Under-17 National Team player Karlie Paschall. Tennessee continued to dictate play and capped the 2-0 win with a strike from Olivia Winnett in the closing minutes.
For a third straight year, FC Dallas 98 Premier (TX-N) is moving on to the semifinals of its group after coming away with a 5-3 win over TSCH 98 Nsien (OK). Goals by Adan Garcia and Sebastian Venegas gave FC Dallas a two-goal lead after 10 minutes of play in the Under-17 Boys quarterfinal. TSC’s Jorge Sanchez pulled a goal back for his side in the 14th minute, but Gerber Chavez immediately reestablished the two-goal FC Dallas lead when he finished his opportunity. After Matthew Gonzalez pushed the Dallas lead to 4-1, TSC’s Joseph Cuellar quickly replied to send the game to halftime with FC Dallas, the 2014 Region III finalist, holding a 4-2 lead. The game tightened in the 70th minute, as the Oklahoma side pulled within a goal thanks to a second strike from Sanchez. However, Gonzalez netted his second for FC Dallas in the 90th minute to cap the victory.
Regional winners of the Under-13 through Under-19 age groups earn a berth to the 2015 US Youth Soccer National Championships, which will be played July 21-26 at the Mohawk Soccer Complex in Tulsa, Okla.
The US Youth Soccer National Championships will consist of US Youth Soccer Regional Champions, as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the Under-14 through Under-18 Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of 96 teams.
Results from Tuesday’s quarterfinals and semifinals…
|Under-13 Girls Semifinals|
|Sting 02 Higginbotham||TX-N||0||Creeks Krush Elite||FL||1|
|Albion Hurricanes 02||TX-S||2||CSA Charlotte SA Predator 01||NC||0|
|Under-13 Boys Semifinals|
|Lonestars 02 Red||TX-S||0||SCUFC 01 Elite||SC||2|
|Solar Chelsea 02 Red||TX-N||5||01 CASL Academy Jrs.||NC||2|
|Under-17 Girls Quarterfinals|
|Tennessee SC 16||TN||2||Classics Elite 98||TX-S||0|
|Carolina Rapids 97 Burgundy||NC||2||Oklahoma FC 98||OK||1|
|Tampa Bay United 97 Premier||FL||7||MSC Lakers 97/98||LA||0|
|Tophat 16 Gold||GA||3||Florida Fire Juniors||FL||0|
|Under-17 Boys Quarterfinals|
|CESA 97 Premier||SC||2||Solar Chelsea 98||TX-N||1|
|Bryson Park/ KSA 98 Premier||GA||5||Liverpool 98 Babel||TX-N||1|
|FC Dallas 98 Premier||TX-N||5||TSCH 98 Nsien||OK||3|
|Charlotte United FC Gold||NC||1||FC Alliance 98 Black||TN||3|
|Under-18 Girls Semifinals|
|SCU/MP 96 Elite||SC||0||AHFC 97||TX-S||1|
|FC Alliance 97 TNSL1||TN||3||97 Louisiana Fire Navy||LA||4|
|Under-18 Boys Quarterfinals|
|FC Dallas 97 Gold||TX-N||3||Lonestars 97 Red SAN||TX-S||1|
|Oklahoma FC 97||OK||2||South Carolina United FC 96 Elite||SC||2|
|Bryson Park/ KSA 97 Premier||GA||4||BRSC/CSC Alliance 97||LA||1|
|NASA 15 Elite||GA||7||Tennessee SC 15||TN||0|
|Under-19 Girls Semifinals|
|Tampa Bay United Premier||FL||1||BRSC 96 Alliance||LA||0|
|AR United||AR||0||BUSA 96||AL||2|
|Under-19 Boys Semifinals|
|Cajun Fire 96||LA||1||TSCH 96 Nsien||OK||3|
|FC Dallas 96 Premier||TX-N||1||GSA 96 Premier||GA||2|