West Team earns 5-1 win in ECNL Girls National Selection Game in Florida
On Sunday night, the bright stars of the ECNL took center stage in the ECNL Girls Continental Tire National Selection Game from Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. (View Rosters)
The fireworks started early in this one, as the West came out in attack mode from the start.
In the 8th minute, Sophia Bradley (PDA) noticed the East keeper slightly off her line and decided to have a go at it from long distance. Bradley hit a high arcing shot from outside of the box that just traveled over the outstretched hand of the goalie and found the back of the net to open the scoring.
Just over a minute later the West was at it again. Kiley Kukan (SLSG) won possession of the ball in the box, found a bit of space, and fired a shot from a sharp angle into the lower left corner to put the West up 2-0.
In the 11th minute, it was the West finding the back of the net again, as well as the start of the Amanda Schlueter (Kings Hammer SC) show. Schlueter took a pass from Kukan and proceeded to work her way through the East defense and find the back of the next to extend the lead to 3-0.
The East showed some resiliency though.
Keaton Mitchell (Tennessee SC) hit a knuckling shot from outside the box that was able to beat the keeper and get the East on the board in the 19th minute, making it 3-1.
After the frantic start that saw four goals inside the first 20 minutes, both sides adjusted and settled in defensively.
In the 64th minute, Kukan and Schlueter found their connection again. Kukan got the ball to Schlueter inside the box who was able to sneak the ball into the back of the net for her second goal of the night.
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— ECNL Girls (@ECNLgirls) January 9, 2023
Near the end of the night, McKenna Newcome (Loudoun Soccer) delivered a great ball into the box that Schlueter found herself on the other end of. Schlueter put home the delivery to give herself a hat trick on the evening and seal the victory for the West team, with a final score of 5-1.
After the game, Schlueter talked about her hat trick, but credited her teammates for helping her accomplish such a fantastic feat.
“It’s a good accomplishment, but none of it could have happened without my teammates,” Schlueter said. “One of my strengths is just being able to find the back of the net in any type of situation and I feel like I was able to express that tonight with the help of my teammates.”
“I feel like on the field we gel pretty well,” Kukan said after the game when asked about the chemistry between her and Schlueter.
Both Schlueter and Kukan also emphasized how much it meant to them to play and perform well on such a big stage on Sunday night.
“It means a lot to me cause these games are really high intensity. The fast speed of play is great,” Schlueter said.
“I was nervous, but to put on a show like that was fun and for it to turn out like this is exciting,” Kukan said. “So, it means a lot.”