Jefferson Cup Girls’ Day Two: West Creek Fields
By Daryl Grove
Richmond, Va. – The sun shone brightly on the second day of the 2011 Jefferson Cup girls weekend. The 10 West Creek Fields played host to the U-16, U-17 and U-18 age groups with games running from early morning until late afternoon. College coaches packed the sidelines for the showcase event, studiously making notes as they watched the games.
“Every year we come here to recruit, to look for the players we’ll need,” says Jen Prozzo, assistant coach with Central Connecticut State. “The Jefferson Cup is always very well run; everything happens on time, there’s good space between the fields and usually good food! I especially like that the recruitable ages are concentrated in one area, as they are here today at West Creek Fields, rather than being spread around the various locations too much.”
Here’s a look at some of Saturday’s action:
U17 Platinum Division: Clearwater Chargers (FL) 1-3 Freehold Shooting Stars (NJ)
The Freehold Shooting Stars of New Jersey came from behind to earn a hard fought 3-1 victory over the Clearwater Chargers of Florida. Freehold dominated a scoreless first half, and looked certain to take the lead when midfielder Angela Marrone was taken down in the box and a penalty was awarded. However, an excellent save from Clearwater goalkeeper Lisa Jadick kept the scores level.
The second half saw an increase in the action, with both sides desperately pushing for a goal. Freehold took the lead not long after kickoff, but Clearwater’s counter-attacking approach paid off when winger Lauren Sommerville pounced on a loose ball, tapped it around the Freehold goalkeeper, and passed it into an empty net for the equalizer.
The parity was to be short lived, as a controversial goal put Freehold ahead once again. Angela Marrone settled a ball and fired a low shot that was saved by Jadick. However, the rebound fell to Marrone’s feet, and the 17-year-old didn’t let another opportunity go to waste. Freehold celebrated even as the majority of the Clearwater defense looked to the linesman for an offside flag that was not forthcoming.
Freehold pushed for a third with time running out and were rewarded for their hard work when midfielder Jessica McFadden knocked home from close range to secure victory and keep Freehold alive in the tournament, after an earlier loss to Tennessee Futbol Club Azul had dampened the team’s spirits.
U16 Elite Division: Cincinnati United Cup Crew (OH) 0-0 Albertson SC Fury Premier (NY)
In a tight, physical encounter, Cincinnati United Cup Crew and Albertson SC Fury Premier battled to a 0-0 draw in Group B of the U-16 Girls Elite Division. The Crew dominated possession for much of the first half, with forwards Emily Janszen and Bryce Hueber making threatening runs at the heart of the Fury defense.
With the Crew unable to capitalize on their early chances, the Fury were finally able to settle and produced some golden chances of their own, notably when Midfielder Alissa Iannacchino saw a long range blast go just over the bar.
The second half proved to be a midfield battle with the Crew’s Elizabeth Slattery and the Fury’s Jacqueline Niciforo taking center stage. A final surge from the Fury produced a late corner, but the New Yorkers were unable to earn a need victory and the match finished a scoreless draw.
U17 Platinum Division: South Central Premier Select (CT) 2-0 Lexington FC Premier (KY)
Both South Central Premier Select and Lexington FC Premier were looking to avenge early tournament losses in Group C of the Platinum Division when they clashed late Saturday morning. In the end, it was SCPS who kept their tournament hopes alive with a resounding 2-0 victory. Midfielder Shelby Halasz was a pivotal figure in the SCPS attack, and nearly notched an early goal when her 30 yard freekick was narrowly saved by some excellent work from Lexington goalkeeper Kate Fitzgerald.
Halasz’ next attempt was a thing of beauty, as the 17-year-old went on a slaloming 20-yard run culminating in a deft finish to the lower corner. Lexington looked determined to rebound after halftime, and looked capable of doing so as the Kentucky side created numerous opportunities. However, it was SCPS who succeeded in finding the back of the net. Gabrielle Dixon, whose earlier cross narrowly missed being tapped in by teammate Tabitha Brown, earned a goal of her own with a determined finish.
U17 Championship Division: FC Virginia Cardinals (VA) 2-1 Triangle FC Navy (NC)
The FC Virginia Cardinals continued their winning ways, as they downed Triangle FC TFC Navy 2-1 in a Group C battle in the U-17 Championship Division. The Cardinals took an early lead when Defender Alana Mackey knocked in a well taken corner.
Triangle recovered from the early setback, and were rewarded for their efforts when forward Taylor Cavazos tapped in a loose ball and leveled the scoreline. Despite the tense scoreline, both sides played solid, attacking soccer and created multiple chances prior to the halftime whistle.
With first place in the group on the line, both sides looked desperate to earn the victory. In the end, it was midfielder Ashly Ninteman who scored the game winner for the Cardinals, finishing from a second well-placed corner kick. The victory moved the Cardinals into sole possession of first place, with Triangle falling to second.
U-18 Championship Division: Penn Fusion Gaels (PA) 0-0 McLean Azul (VA)
McLean Azul Head Coach Jac Cicalia was “very happy” with the no-score-draw, especially as his team hadn’t played in over a month. Both Cicalia’s team and Shawn Ferris’ Penn Fusion Gaels lined up in what appeared to be 4-5-1 formations, which made for a hard fought midfield battle.
Penn Fusion Gaels applied the early pressure, but a tie was a fair result over the course of the game. Midfielder Erin Havard came closest for McLean, when she put a powerful free kick just wide of the post. Similarly, Bethany Houpt’s impressive long range effort was the closest the Penn Fusion Gaels came to scoring.
The standout player was Penn Fusion central defender Sydney Cetrullo, who looked strong both defensively and when distributing the ball. Coach Francis says Cetrullo has already committed to Cornell University.
U-18 Championship Division: Syosset / FC Sting (NY) 2-0 Loudoun (VA)
Syosset scored two goals in quick succession early in the first half, leaving Loudon chasing the game from very early on. Both goals came from forward Liana Cornacchio, her first after a teammate’s shot hit the bar and bounced down on the line and she was calm enough to bury the rebound, her second when she was alert in the box during a goalmouth scramble.
Cornacchio was an imposing presence up front in Syosset’s 4-4-2 formation, but also very smart when dropping deep to collect the ball in midfield. Syosset also benefited from the composure of slight but skillful central defender Stephanie Nelle.
Loudoun coach Randy May was disappointed with the early goals. “I thought we were slow out of the gate,” he says. “Those early goals cost us because we were always chasing the game.” Loudon’s best chance came through forward Taylor Boucher, who did well to make space for herself to shoot, but couldn’t find the necessary power.
Loudon’s losing margin could have been more if not for some excellent work by Loudoun keeper Kate Murphy in the second half. Murphy had one especially brave save at the feet of a Syosset attacker, and an impressive double save late in the half. Murphy is committed to Elon University.
U-17 Elite Division: Richmond Kickers (VA) 3-2 FC Pride (IN)
The Kickers and FC Pride produced a very entertaining game, with end-to-end action, plenty of goals, and a dramatic finish.
Kickers took the lead early on when midfielder/forward Elizabeth Weast accelerated away from FC Pride’s defenders and placed the ball into the far corner while still traveling at pace. Pride equalized when a good cross was allowed to bounce in the box and Taylor Cotherman was there to finish.
Ashley Williams put the Kickers ahead again when she connected with a ball that was loose in the middle of the box, but Pride forward and captain Cheyenne Somers soon showed why she wears the armband. Somers was tripped when trying to round the Kickers keeper and won her team a penalty kick, which she confidently stepped up to take herself and level the score at 2-2.
A 2-2 tie may have been a fair result, but with time running out Kickers first goalscorer Elizabeth Weast was smart enough to draw the defenders before laying off to forward Savannah Cherry. The Pride keeper came out to block Cherry’s initial shot but could do nothing when Cherry struck home the rebound for a 3-2 win.
Kickers Head Coach Andy McIntosh felt the game was “very even and competitive” but was understandably “proud of my team for getting the win.” McIntosh’s team had tied their earlier game with NSJA Storm.
U-16 Championship Division: PDA Crush (NJ) 0-0 Beadling (PA)
This goalless draw got increasingly competitive as the game got older, with both New Jersey’s PDA Crush and Pennsylvania’s Beadling fighting for every ball.
PDA Crush arguably had more possession, but it was Beadling who came closest in the first half when a PDA Crush defensive mix-up let Beadling’s speedy Vanessa Ceravolo break down the right. Ceravolo squared well for forward Frances Crouse, but PDA Crush keeper Melissa Gall bravely beat Crouse to the ball.
Beadling came close again in the second half, causing enough confusion in the PDA Crush defense for the ball to strike the post, but no Beadling striker was there to profit and PDA Crush cleared. Despite those two close calls, it was actually PDA Crush that had the ball in the net not long before full time, but Clare MacAdam was disappointed to see an assistant referee’s flag raised for offside.
Beadling Head Coach Denny Kohlmyer thought a draw was a fair result for “two very good teams.” PDA Crush’s 1-0 win over Free State Elite on Friday keeps the team top of U-16 Championship Division Group B, while Beadling’s 2-0 defeat to VSA Heat Blue means they currently sit in third.
U-17 Championship Division: Baltimore Bays (MD) 1-2 East Meadow Express (NJ)
East Meadow Express won an early penalty when N’Deah Johnson was brought down in the box by Baltimore Bays keeper Becky Murphy, but Murphy both saved and caught the resulting spot kick from Christina Casamassina. Soon after that, Bays forward Kelsie Maloney dribbled down the right flank and struck the ball low into the far corner to give her team a 1-0 lead.
Maloney’s dribbling was dangerous throughout, but her team did not find the net again. Instead, East Meadow Express pulled level in the second half when a scramble in the six yard box ended with Luisa Echeverry making it 1-1.
East Meadow Express’ winning goal came from midfielder Alexandra Adam, who had possession to the right of the penalty area and well outside the box, but looked up and fired a shot that even Becky Murphy couldn’t save into the far corner.
Express Head Coach Akeem Ayinde (whose twin daughters Safi and Sali also play on the team) was full of praise for his players, but also very complimentary about the Baltimore Bays. “We have a friendly rivalry with them and they are very nice girls,” he says. “My team always looks forward to playing them.”
U-17 Championship Division: McLean Strikers (VA) 2-1 Scorpions SC (MA)
The Scorpions, from Massachusetts, took an early lead against Virginia’s McLean Strikers after they were awarded an indirect free kick in the box when the McLean keeper mistakenly picked up a backpass. McLean Strikers got plenty of players between the ball and the goal, but not enough to stop the left foot of Jenna Savi from close range.
No need for McLean strikers to worry though, because midfielder Kara Wilson came to their rescue. Wilson scored the equalizer when her perfect first touch allowed her to turn and sidefoot the ball into the lower corner, and went on to score the winner with a striker from well outside the penalty area that flew over the Scorpions keeper’s head.
McLean Strikers coach Clyde Watson was understandably impressed with Wilson, who graduates in 2012 and has committed to Duke University.
U-17 Classic Division: Manhattan Kickers (NY) 0-0 Lower Dauphin SA LDC United (PA)
The Kickers took the field in a 4-5-1 formation that made them difficult to break down. Left winger Shannon Rubin did a lot of work on her side of the field, while both Shannon Rhodes and Katlyn Merino showed some sharp touches and awareness in midfield, but the formation often left target forward Nicole Biscaglia with a lot do by herself.
Lower Dauphin applied as much pressure as they could, but even when they found a way through the Kickers proved themselves capable of some last gasp defending. It was Carrie Pink who came closest when the Lower Dauphin player’s long range shot came back off the bar.
“We had better possession, but couldn’t create any chances,” says Lower Dauphin Head Coach Denis Clarke. “We moved the ball really well, but couldn’t open them up.” Clarke wasn’t too worried about the result though. “The important thing was for these players to get in the shop window and play in this showcase, the best event in the nation.”
U-16 Elite Division: Baltimore Bays Chelsea (MD) 0-2 HBC Intense (NY)
Both teams had lost their opening games on Friday, so a win was important to keep tournament hopes alive. The game was evenly balanced until left back Theodora Petre struck a volley at the top of the box, which dipped over the Baltimore Bays Chelsea keeper’s head.
Unfortunately Petre was later carried off the field with a knee injury, as was forward Aaliyah Ingram. Luckily a member of the Baltimore Bays Chelsea coaching staff was on hand to assess and advise the injured opponents.
Jaclyn Dimartino was twice unlucky not to extend Intense’s lead, first hitting the post and then stretching to connect with a cross but sending the ball just wide. In the end Intense made it 2-0 with another volley, this time midfielder Erika Flowers taking a Morgan Tinari cross out of the air and into the net.
Intense coach Ron Alber was understandably concerned about the injuries, but was pleased with his team’s composure.