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ECNL Jun 29, 2012

TSW Q&A: Dallas Sting U-17s coach Kenny Medina at 2012 ECNL National Finals

By Jimmy LaRoue

Waukegan, Ill.– Dallas Sting will still have an opportunity to win a fourth national championship, as they garnered a goal and an assist from Katie Martin to hold off a stubborn Scorpions FC side and win 2-1 in the ECNL Under-17 Flight A quarterfinals on Thursday.

Sting will face CASL Chelsea Ladies, 2-0 winners over Ohio Premier Eagles on Thursday, in the semifinals.

Martin made a great individual run, dribbling from the right side and beating three defenders before scoring. On the second goal, the player dubbed by Sting players and coaches as “K-Mart” delivered the cross that set up Sarah Shaw’s finish to put Sting up 2-0. Scorpions would pull back a goal, but Sting hung on for the victory and the semifinal berth.

Sting coach Kenny Medina took time to talk to The Soccer Wire after the win:

The Soccer Wire: What did the team have to do to weather the conditions and the Scorpions’ comeback attempt?

Kenny Medina: We changed our formation a little bit to kind of withstand and surprise them. But not having legs, we prepared for this. We’re missing two marquee players, Gloria Williams, who’s at Notre Dame and Caitlyn Heap, who tore her ACL. We changed a lot of stuff. We’re not playing the same way we normally play. We talked a lot about how we’re going to defend and how we’re going to be able to connect passes to find our front-runner. We designed our front-runner runs a lot differently, and it’s paying off. It’s paying off with the goals we got yesterday and it’s paying off with the goals we’ve gotten today. We’ve got another major injury [today] with Meagan [McCullough]. Hopefully she can recover. But to be honest with you, anything that’s been in front of this team, they’ve been able to do. Again, we had to change a lot of stuff to get ready for this game.

TSW: How do you bounce back for the next two games?

KM: You say you can be a four-time national champion. And that’s really, basically, all she wrote. As we understand with our ’97s that won a national championship last year, and I feel that they were probably the best team in the country, it’s that one game that can catch you, and for them to win, actually, three national championships in two years is phenomenal. That’s really all it takes for them, to be honest with you.

TSW: Break down the two goals, especially with the different runs you were having your forwards make.

KM: You know what? To be honest with you, I never remember how we scored or who scores. … I really don’t. As a coach, you say, ‘You know what? That’s how we drew it up.’ The specifics of it, I never know. I can’t help you there.

TSW: They’re making the kinds of runs that are putting them in the right places, then?

KM: They’re putting them in the right places, and we’ve talked about the timing of the passes and whether the ball is ready to go in or not, or how to be able to redistribute the ball, just basically the whole setup of what we’ve done. And you can see it, it’s been paying off for us, big time.

TSW: How’s the incentive for the girls, knowing they can be four-time national champions?

KM: It’s really nothing that they’re talking about, but you can tell when they walk out to the field, that there’s really something that’s burning inside of them. It’s not been something that they’re talking about. I think we’re talking about it more on the outside than they are. This team, [since] before I got it, has always been very, very driven. It’s not really been the best team I’ve ever had, but it’s the team that knows how to win. I’ve had some teams that have had All-Stars, but these girls have a knack for winning and kudos to them. They have a drive that didn’t come from them, or maybe, comes from within them. It’s somewhere inside that house that they live in that’s driving them.

TSW: Were there performances that stood out for you in the win over Scorpions?

KM: I think Katie Martin was the player of our game today. She was really, really good and impacted the game from the very start to the very finish. I was very happy with her. I bring her up because we’re going to need that performance for us to get through the next two games.

TSW: How so? In what way did you see her impacting the game?

KM: Her runs off the ball were wonderful. When she got the ball, she was determined, she was committed and she got our first goal. She beat a whole line of people, and those are the things we’ve been talking about in practice, having that determination, that commitment and the confidence to be able to do it.

[ +Learn more about Medina’s Sting U-17s at their official team website ]

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