2017 US Youth Soccer Region II Championships kick off in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Preliminary Games - Day 1 of 3
Schedule, Standings and Scores
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (June 23, 2017) – The 2017 US Youth Soccer Region II (Midwest) Championships kicked off Friday at Yankton Trail Park in Sioux Falls, S.D. Teams comprised of state champions as well as US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional League wildcards, commenced day one with hopes of advancing to knockout rounds, and ultimately earning a berth to the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Frisco, Texas.
The 224 participating US Youth Soccer Boys and Girls teams in the 13U through 19/20U age groups represent 14 State Associations - host South Dakota State Soccer Association, and Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio North, Ohio South and Wisconsin.
Seven teams this year are back to defend their 2016 US Youth Soccer Region II Championship titles. Four girls teams include: 15U Girls CUP 02 Gold (OH-S), 16U Girls Nationals Union 01 Black (MI), 17U Girls Midwest United FC 00 Royal (MI) and 19/20U Girls EGA Maroon 98 (NE). The boys’ side includes: 16U Boys Raiders FC (IL), 18U Boys OP Green (OH-S) and 19/20U Boys OP 97-98 Green (OH-S).
Nationals Union 01 Black, is also back to defend its two-time US Youth Soccer National Championship (2015 and 2016) titles. They kicked off the event with a 5-2 victory against EGA 01 Maroon Omaha (NE). Midwest United FC 00 Royal also returns to defend its 2016 National Championship title, and it took a step in the right direction after a 5-0 win over Cleveland FC (OH-N).
Among the teams who are familiar with the competition, the 2016 Region II Championship 13U Girls finalists, Chicago Fire Juniors South Premier (IL), is back in the 15U age group and started off with a 1-0 win against Indy Premier 02 Elite Nike (IN) on Friday. Head coach Nick Kolliniatis discusses the atmosphere of the event’s first day and what it means to be back in the competition.
“On the first day, you always want to set the tone right, get the nerves out,” Kolliniatis said. “I thought we were a little nervous today, but to start with three points is always good. You want to settle into the tournament. This is back-to-back years for the girls, so it’s special and it’s a good opportunity for them. Hopefully, we can represent our state proudly.”
Some highlights from Friday’s games:
Libertyville FC 1974 (IL) started off the event with a 4-2 win over SLSG SC Elite 2004 (MO). The high-scoring game started off with a goal from Libertyville’s Grace Apgar in the 11th minute. One minute later, SLSG retaliated as Payton Fisher crossed the ball for Ellen Rimsky to redirect the ball into the net with her head. Libertyville was not satisfied with the tied score as Abby Gordon put the Illinois team in the lead in the 49th minute. Meghan Mrowicki also added two goals to make it a 4-1 game, and although Mia Cornelius’s goal helped SLSG cut into Libertyville’s score, Libertyville claimed the victory.
Sporting St. Croix Academy (MN) posted a 2-0 win over Michigan Jaguars (MI). In the first half, Michigan Jaguars took control of the game as each player touched the ball to create several chances. Jona Hogle came close to taking the lead for the Michigan side when he endured a one-on-one foot race with a Sporting St. Croix defender, but Hogle’s shot went to the keeper. Alexandru Diac also nearly put the ball in the net when he blasted a shot from 25 yards out that bounced off the crossbar. Michigan Jaguars continued to build combination plays, but the first half remained scoreless. Sporting St. Croix flipped the game in the second half as Paul Phillipson snuck in a goal in the 43rd minute. Hayden Boich made it a 2-0 game as he netted a goal of his own in the 60th minute.
Chicago Fire Juniors South Premier (IL) snuck in a 1-0 victory against Indy Premier 02 Elite Nike (IN) for the three points. Despite the fact that Chicago Fire strung numerous passes together, it was a scoreless first half. In the second half, Agnes Lojek followed up her own shot, which originally bounced off the goal post, and passed the ball into the net, giving Chicago Fire the lead. Indy Premier’s Elizabeth Waskom had an opportunity to tie up the match when she went on a breakaway with the ball, but her shot went wide left. On the other end, Kiara Pralle nearly added another goal for Chicago Fire when she took a shot at the top of the 18-yard box that skimmed just over the crossbar. Nevertheless, Chicago Fire held Indy Premier off for the 1-0 win.
Javanon 2001 Black (KY) defeated Raiders FC (IL), 3-2, in comeback fashion. Javanon scored in the first minute as Brandon McManus finished the goal, but Yobani Esparza tied up the match for Raiders FC. In the 22nd minute, it became a 2-1 match as Raiders FC’s Eduardo Melgoza put the ball in the back of the net. During the second half, Raiders FC fought for more goals and the team came close when Daniel Favela dribbled the ball down and served a square pass for Melgoza, whose shot was blocked at the last second by a Javanon defender. Javanon continued to shut down Raiders FC’s offensive push, and the momentum changed when Javanon earned a corner kick on the other end of the field in the 68th minute. The kick traveled to the back post for Case Cox to finish the equalizer with his head. The game winner came just two minutes later when a cross from the right flank found McManus’s head.
CUP 00 Gold (OH-S) claimed a 5-2 win against SC Waukesha 2000 (WI). CUP went up 2-0 within the first 20 minutes of the game as Kate Larbes and Anna Podojil each finished a goal. The Ohio South side added a third when Sophia Wasco sent a cross straight for Larbes to redirect with her head. In the second half, SC Waukesha cut into CUP’s lead as Katie Wasiak launched a rocket from about 25 yards out that hit the upper net. While Jelena Sever closed the gap to 3-2 with a goal in the 70th minute, Podojil scored two late goals to complete her hat trick and to finalize the 5-2 win.
Sporting STL-McMahon Ford (MO) earned a close 1-0 win against Kansas Rush Academy 99 Gray (KS). After a scoreless first half, the second half picked up pace. Sporting STL got on the board after a corner kick sent the ball into the 18-yard box and a frenzy ensued, yet Joey Spotanski eventually slipped the ball into the net. It was an even matchup with both teams working, but Kansas Rush kept the ball in its offensive half. The dangerous opportunities started to come one right after the other. Joshua Donjuan ran onto a long ball and sent a volley over the crossbar. In another instance, the ball was lobbed over the Sporting defense, and Zachary Wagner was just onside to run onto it, but his shot went over the goal as well. In the end, Sporting STL held on to the 1-0 victory.
CRSA (IA) picked up a significant win against DASC (SD) on the first day of preliminary games. Seth Lukefahr’s goal allowed CRSA to take the early lead, and a second goal came off a corner kick for Lukefahr to finish. CRSA added another when Lukefahr picked up the ball at the top of the 18-yard box and volleyed the ball into the upper net. A fourth goal came from Lukefahr once again who went into a 50/50 challenge with the DASC goalkeeper and got to the ball first, slipping it by him. DASC tried to get out of its defensive half and came close to CRSA’s goal with a few chances, but CRSA continued to pile on the shots. In the second half, CRSA added two more goals from Matt Been and Justin Hill.
Regional winners of the 13U through 19/20U age groups earn a berth to the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championships, held July 24-30 at the Toyota Soccer Center in Frisco, Texas. The US Youth Soccer National Championships will consist of US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in the 13U through 19/20U Boys and Girls age groups, as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the 15U through 19/20U Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of 96 teams.
Daily reports and complete results from the Region II Championships are available on http://championships.usyouthsoccer.org/regionii. Follow the moments from the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series on Twitter and share the moments on Instagram and Facebook using #ROADtoTX.