Celtic FC 00 Premier (UT) opened the 2019 National Championships by claiming three points on day one and knocking off reigning National Champion Sunrise Sting 2000 (FL) in a tightly contested 19U Girls, 3-2, victory.
In a tournament with this level of competition, Celtic FC knows that experience will be vital to help carry them through.
“The competition here is great,” said Celtic FC head coach Steve Magleby. “Sunrise is an experienced team that has been here, our girls have also been here in the same spot. It was two really experienced teams in a good battle with our girls pulling it out in the end.”
Right after the first whistle of play, both teams found an early attack in its offensive end as each team took two shots on goal in the first 10 minutes of play. The game remained scoreless with the goalkeepers each making saves to hold the game even at 0-0.
Sunrise found themselves on a breakaway in the 12th minute after forcing a turnover, but the Celtic FC defense came up with the stop in its defensive end of the field to end the attack. After the early back and forth play, Celtic FC gained control late in the first half as it looked to gain the lead going to halftime with three shots in four minutes. Sunrise goalkeeper Elizabeth Matel made two stops while another shot went high as the game went into halftime tied at 0-0.
Following a scoreless 45 minutes of play, the teams came into the second half physical as each looked for the first goal of the game. In the 54th minute, Celtic FC struck first as Hailee Atwater found Kathryn Schirmer who gave them the lead early in the second half.
Nine minutes later, Sunrise’s Ashlyn Fernandez came sliding in the box to chip the ball over Celtic keeper Chelsea Peterson and scored the equalizer off a pass from Kayla Fernandez. Emily Thompson followed up with a dribbler past the goalkeeper off a cross from Kayla Fernandez just nine minutes later, putting the Florida side ahead by one goal.
Celtic FC found control of the game late and applied the pressure with back-to-back shots in the 80th minute that were blocked and saved. After a blocked shot in the 81st minute, Schirmer gained control of the rebound and finished her chance to bring the game back to even with her second score of the day. The pressure was kept on the Sunrise defense as Celtic FC forced the goalkeeper to make two late saves and keep the game knotted at two a side.
After a shot sailed high in the 89th minute for Sunrise, Celtic FC found themselves on the attack with one minute to play. Jamie Shepherd played hero for Celtic FC, scoring the winning goal in the final minute off an assist from Tara Warner to secure Celtic its first win of the tournament.
“The level of competition is really high here,” added Celtic FC’s Jamie Shepherd. “They gave us a good fight. It was hard to comeback, it feels good.”
Celtic FC looks to carry that momentum into tomorrow as it faces Lou Fusz Elam (MO) and looks for its second win of the tournament.