Virginia Rush Blue takes Girls U11 Nike bracket championship in penalties
By Jimmy LaRoue
Score one for the home team.
Virginia Rush Blue, going up against a dominant Keystone U11 Girls White team that had not given up a goal in any of its games, found a way to outlast them and win the Girls Under-11 Nike bracket of the Virginia Rush Soccer Club’s Ralph Downey Memorial Classic in a penalty kick shootout.
“It was very exciting,” said Rush Blue coach Morgan Speight. “We were able to pick it up and come back and win the final. We’re very fortunate. We have a great group of girls.”
She said she was more nervous during penalties than her players.
“I think it’s harder for the coaches to adjust,” she said with a chuckle. “I was pretty nervous, but I think they handled it very well, and they were all pretty composed.”
Rush Blue finished 3-0-0 in its group, outscoring its opponents 8-1 in the process.
Speight said in this age group, she’s looking for them to continue to improve and get better as a team. This U11 group, she said, only began playing together in January.
“They were good, but they weren’t playing together as a team,” Speight said. “But now they’re very connected and playing together.”
The effort paid off in a hometown tournament win, one of three for Rush teams this weekend, along with the boys’ Virginia Rush Academy Blue in the U-12 Nike bracket and the Virginia Rush Nike in the Girls U-14 Nike bracket, defeating another Rush team to win it. Rush also had 10 other teams that were finalists in their own tournament at the Hampton Roads Soccer Complex.
“It feels really great to win it,” Speight said. “Just to be able to have it in our own hometown. We’re so blessed to have such a great facility. The Rush puts it on, and the Rush wins it. It’s just really great.”