Girls Development Academy East Conference: Midseason Update
Take a look at the division leaders across the U.S. Soccer Girls Development Academy East Conference as we head into the winter break of the 2018-2019 season.
Sitting at the top of the Atlantic Division table is Penn Fusion Soccer Academy (10-2-2, 32 points). After losing two of their first three games, Penn have hit their stride going on an eleven match unbeaten run. The club has allowed just 15 goals this season, fourth lowest among all Eastern Conference sides. Goalkeepers Gabriella Neal (11 appearances/5 starts) and Sydney Slusser (13 appearances/9 starts) have combined to post four clean sheets for the side.
FC Virginia (10-1-4, 34 points) have had a very strong start to their 2018-2019 campaign losing just once in fifteen matches. Virginia are one of the top scoring sides in the USSDA, netting 42 goals in league play. Ella Carter leads the team with 11 goals, which is sixth most among all scorers in the Eastern Conference. Midfielders Taylor Price (7 goals) and Courtney Anderson (5 goals) are also at the top of Virginia’s scoring charts. Although Virginia have more points than Penn, they trail them in Points Per Game (2.2857 to 2.2667), which is the first tie-breaker.
Washington Spirit Academy-Maryland (8-3-2, 26 points) round out the top three ending the fall part of their season on a three-game unbeaten run. Cate Shepherd has been on point all season for the Spirit, scoring 17 goals in 13 matches. Shepherd sits in third place among all players for Goals Scored and is fourth in Goals Per Game (1.3077) across the entire U-15 age bracket.
NEFC (10-4-0, 30 points) are in first place after winning of their final three matches in the Winter Showcase. The Massachusetts-based sides balanced attack has paid off with points in the standings, with 13 of their players finding the back of the net. Isabella Garces leads the way with seven goals, followed closely by Lacey Mbugua (six goals) and Emanuelly Ferreira (four goals).
New York City FC (8-2-3, 27 points) are close behind them in second in the Northeast. Head Coach Osborne Carter’s side has put on a defensive show this season, allowing just 10 goals through 13 matches. Defenders Marissa Graziano, Hanao Nakamoto and Skyler Scavao have formed a tight, cohesive unit, limiting the work for goalkeepers Mackenzie Gress and Claire Heddings.
Sitting in third is Oakwood Soccer Club (7-4-2, 23 points), who have had their fair share of wild results this season. Their record includes five shutouts and four matches in which they defeated opponents by more than three goals. Forward Julia Motuzick leads the side with 11 goals while goalkeeper Abby Colella has four clean sheets.
Tophat (9-2-1, 28 points) started the season with a pair of 10-0 results and haven’t looked back demolishing the competition in the Southeast Division. Forward Tori DellaPeruta has scored 13 goals in just 11 matches, which places her ninth among all U-15 players. But the Tophat is more than just DellaPeruta, as fourteen of their players have found the back of the net. Their plus 38 Goal Differential is tied with Nationals of the Mid-America Division for the highest in the U-15 age bracket.
While Tophat have had an impressive first half of the season, there is still plenty to play for with both Charlotte Soccer Academy (8-2-2, 26 points) and IMG Academy (8-3-2, 26 points) hot on their heels. For CSA the key to their success thus far has been their defense. They have allowed more than two goals in a match just once, a 6-3 win over United Soccer Alliance back in September. On the attacking end, midfielder Kennedy Bell has scored 19 goals for CSA which is second best among all U-15 players.
As for IMG there have been goals aplenty for the Florida-based side. Kayla Reed has scored 20 for IMG while Enasia Colon and Jocelyn Rowe have added 11 and 9 respectively. Their 50 goals scored is the second most among all USSDA sides in the U-15 age bracket.
Penn Fusion Soccer Academy (10-1-1, 31 points) are in first place after nearly running through the first half of the season with a perfect record. Their defense has been on point all season, conceding just eight goals. Co-starting goalkeepers Mia Reed (seven starts) and Audrey Brown (five starts) have combined for six clean sheets and have not allowed more than two goals in a match all season.
Second in the Atlantic right now goes to FC Virginia (6-5-3, 21 points) who have toughed out a winning record in league play. Midfielder Brooke Potter has scored 9 of the club’s 21 goals this season. Virginia started the season strong, winning their first five matches to start their 2018-2019 campaign.
Coming right behind them is Cedar Stars Academy-Monmouth (4-5-1, 13 points). Their big result came earlier in the season when they came back from two goals down to tie Virginia 2-2. Midfielder Jordyn Ferraro (four goals), and forward Elizabeth Droner (three goals, one of which came against Virginia) have formed a unique attacking partnership that should continue into the spring.
New York City FC (10-3-1, 31 points) are at the top of the leaderboard in the Northeast and are one of the top attacking sides in the U-16/U-17 age bracket. They have scored 58 goals this season which is the second most among all sides in the division. Their two top scorers are Bella Sember and Ashley Blaka who have scored 18 and 11 goals this season for the club respectively.
Oakwood Soccer Club (9-5-0, 27 points) are in second place thanks in large part to a run at the start of the season in which they won four of their first five matches. Their defense has pulled off five shutouts with defenders Lexie Soteriou, Nyla Urso-Serrano, Kate Minoudis, Molly Monzeglio and Jessica Hinton each making a sizeable contribution. Midfielder Lumi Kostmayer leads the team in goals with 16.
The top defense in the division though belongs to Sky Blue-NYSC (7-5-1, 22 points) who have allowed just 19 goals so far this season. In division play they have allowed more than two goals in a match just once, a 4-1 loss to NYCFC. On the attacking midfielder Esme Bradshaw leads the team with ten goals, followed closely by forwards Erin Hogan (seven) and Teresa Dede (six), and midfielder Erica Petrie (six).
Tophat (9-2-1, 28 points) are at the top of the division after pulling off six consecutive victories to end the year. Their balanced approach has paid off some pretty impressive wins, including a 2-1 win over Crossfire Premier at the Winter Showcase. Arianna Manrique leads the team with nine goals while their defense has allowed just 12 goals this season, which is tied for lowest in the the Southeast.
Charlotte Soccer Academy (9-3-0, 27 points) have matched Tophat this season due to some pretty impressive defensive work of their own. They have allowed just 16 goals this season and have allowed more than one goal in a division match just once, a 6-0 loss against Tophat. On the attacking end Ayden Yated leads the team with seven goals.
The NC Courage (6-2-2, 20 points) are in third, just narrowly ahead of IMG Academy (6-5-2, 20 points) on Points Per Game (2 to 1.5385). The two sides have yet to meet this season but will face off on February 12th the second week back from the winter break. It will be interesting to see how the Courage’s defense, which has allowed just 12 goals all season, will work against the high flying scoring of IMG. IMG’s Riley Thompson leads the U-16/U-17 age bracket in goals with 18 and is considered to be one of the top attacking players in the DA.
FC Virginia (10-2-2, 32 points) are in the pole position in the Atlantic having gone undefeated in Division play entering the winter break. Forwards Carrie McIntire (10 goals), Victoria Powell (10 goals) and Ellis Wheeler (9 goals) have formed an effective three-pronged attack up top combining to score 60 percent of Virginia’s goals. The club has been equally impressive on the defensive front, notching five shutouts. Their 14 goals allowed is the lowest in the Atlantic and the fourth lowest in the Eastern Conference.
Penn Fusion Soccer Academy (6-4-1, 19 points) are in second with three games in hand over Virginia. Forward Elle Kershner has set the tone on the attacking side for Penn with a team-best nine goals. What will be interesting to see is if PFA can make up the rest of the ground against Virginia in the second half of the season. They play their Division foe two more times this season and if their first encounter, a 2-2 draw, is any indication as to how those matches will go then it could be real close.
Finishing out the top three in the division is Washington Spirit Academy-Virginia (7-6-0, 21 points). Although the Spirit started the season slow, losing four of their first five matches, they rounded into form later in the season. The club ended the fall season on a two game unbeaten run and have won three of their last four matches. Gabrielle Robinson and Jasmine Hamid are their co-leading scorers with seven apiece.
NEFC (10-3-0, 30 points) sit atop the Northeast Division having gone undefeated in division play (All three losses came at the Winter Showcase). The side has proven to be quite deadly in the attacking third, having scored 58 goals this season, second most in their age bracket. They are led by three of the top goalscorers in the USSDA in Isabelle Aviza (14 goals), Gabrielle delpico (12 goals) and Lily Matthews (11 goals). Aviza is the leading goal scorer in the East Conference and ranks fourth among all players in the U-18/U-19s.
FC Fury NY (5-4-3, 18 points) are currently holding down the second spot in the Northeast and the third automatic playoff spot. The Fury ended the first half of the season on a high note, winning each of their last five matches and outscoring their opponents 22-2. Goalkeepers Mary Cecil, Sydney Silverman and Danielle Pollard have split time between the posts during this stretch run and have combined for all three of the club’s shutouts. Credit should also be given to defenders Sydney Cradle, Molly Fallek, Alexandra Kalayjian, Allison Mendes and Rebecca Wood for their persistent defensive work.
As it stands the final automatic playoff spot in the Division goes to Oakwood Soccer Club (4-4-2, 14 points). Midfielder Emma Zaccagnini has had a fantastic first half, scoring 12 goals for Oakwood. She is currently in seventh place among all players in the U-18/U-19 age group. She also provided the critical go-ahead goal in Oakwood’s 4-2 win over the Fury in November. The two sides will meet again in March and given how close the two are in the standings it will likely play a critical in deciding how the two will finish the season out.
If there was a theme to the first half of the U-18/U-19 it would likely be: defense. Sitting in the top three positions in the Division are three teams in the United Soccer Alliance (9-1-0, 27 points), Tophat (10-2-0, 30 points), and NC Courage (8-2-0, 24 points) who have given up eight, nine, and nine goals respectively this season. For a bit of perspective only three other sides in the U-18/U-19 USSDA have given up fewer than ten goals (Real So Cal-3, Real Colorado-8, and Real United FC-8).
USA are in first due to their superior Points Per Game totals (2.7 to the Tophat’s 2.5 and the Courage’s 2.4). Olufolasade Adamolekun is once again having a terrific season, scoring 12 goals for her side. But USA has found success this season by using multiple attacking options with Sydney Hauth scoring eight goals and Lia Godfrey netting six.