It took a total team effort to help Carlsbad Elite 97/98 (CA-S) to hold off Tennessee SC 16 (TN) — whether the contribution came from the keeper, a forward or a player on the bench.
Clinging to a one-goal lead in the latter portion of the second half, the Carlsbad bench erupted in cheers for every tackle, hustle play and string of passes its team produced. The support from the sidelines was welcomed by the players on the field, as they held off pressure from Tennessee to come away with the crucial 1-0 victory on Day 2 of the 2014 US Youth Soccer National Championships, presented by the National Guard.
After a surprising five-goal loss in their first game of the week, Carlsbad coach Adam Skumawitz said Wednesday’s Under-16 matchup was a must-win for his players.
“This game was a huge test for these girls mainly because of weeks and weeks of preparation, and yesterday we had a major slip up,” Skumawitz said. “To respond the way they did and come together was incredible. There were girls out there who were inspirational to one another. It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down, it’s about the next opportunity.”
Carlsbad took a while to break through, but it wasn’t without a few near-misses. The California side had a first-half goal called back for being offside, and a strike early in the second half forced a great save from the Tennessee keeper, who managed to tip it over the bar.
Finally, in the 51st minute, Caitlin McCarthy sent a curling corner kick into the box that floated over the Tennessee keeper’s head and into the back netting.
McCarthy, who is playing a year up, said it felt great to contribute to the goal that helped her team get a key victory. They now have an opportunity to move on with a good result on Thursday, but she knows it won’t be easy.
“It’s really tough to get a win here because teams come from all over the country,” McCarthy said. “I’m so proud of everybody for working this hard because in our first game we didn’t do so well, but bouncing back was phenomenal for us.”