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Girls Jul 26, 2016

Yardley Makefield U-17 Girls begin Nationals with shutout victory

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FRISCO, Texas (Via US Youth Soccer) — An early goal helped Under-17 Girls YMS Premier Xplosion 98 (PA-E) begin its 2016 US Youth Soccer National Championships campaign with a 3-0 win against regional foe Beadling Bulldogs (PA-W).

YMS, a three-time National finalist, entered the match with a small chip on their shoulder after Beadling captured the 2016 US Youth Soccer Region I Championship. Head coach John Greaves said his team wanted to prove it was the best side in Pennsylvania, and he believed the hard-fought win on Tuesday did that.

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“It’s almost everything, really, to get this win,” Greaves said. “If you win your first game, it sets you up for tomorrow and Thursday.”

It took just two minutes for YMS to grab an advantage. A high cross played into the box from the right wing flew over the Beadling keeper’s outstretched arms and found the feet of Murphy Agnew, who slid it into an open net to put her side in front.

+Read: Broadcast schedule released for US Youth Soccer National Championships

The early goal provided signs of things to come, as Agnew, a two-time National Championships Golden Ball winner, was involved in several of the Eastern Pennsylvania side’s most dangerous chances throughout the game. Greaves said she’s the kind of player who can win a game, and Tuesday provided glimpses of the Harvard commit’s ability to create in the attacking half of the field.

In the 20th minute, Agnew played a ball to the top of the box, where a teammate gathered the pass and was fouled — setting up a dangerous free kick. Agnew took the ensuing attempt, which received a deflection from Brynn Skelly that found the back of the net to put YMS up, 2-0.

With much of the YMS team having already had three trips to Nationals, Skelly said the players know the significance of an early three points in the group standings.

“We’re always told the first game is the most important,” Skelly said. “It was good to come out and get a feel for the tournament with a good win. Our experience helps us to calm down more and not be too overwhelmed with our surroundings.”

Beadling’s keeper tipped a couple of dangerous shots over the bar later in the half to keep her side within two, and the PA West side generated some chances of its own in the second half as the game flowed back and forth.

However, Agnew sealed the YMS victory with an 84th-minute goal. The YMS forward cut inside a defender just outside of the Beadling penalty area and hit a well-placed shot into the upper-90 that just beat the diving keeper.

Greaves was pleased with the full team effort on Tuesday — from the back line and keepers who preserved the clean sheet, to his attacking players who managed to put three goals in against a side that didn’t allow any in the Region I Championships.

“They’re a tough, hard-working side,” Greaves said of Beadling. “They don’t concede many goals. For us to score three is a credit to the girls’ play today. We got off to a really good start for the week.”

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