LVPSA 03 Red (NV) claimed a 4-1 victory over Liverpool 03 Elite (TX-N) to stay close to the top of Group A in the 15U Girls age group.
After playing to a 2-2 draw on Tuesday, 2017 National Champion LVPSA needed a win to put itself in good position to get out of the group. As the first half developed, it looked like the game could end in either team’s favor.
Liverpool pounded on the door early, creating 1-v-1 scenarios and serving crosses close to the goal. However, LVPSA struck first in the 19th minute when Olivia Garcia dribbled across the face of the goal and passed the ball into the back of the net. Six minutes later, a miscue in the LVPSA defense led to Liverpool’s Amanda Walsh pressuring the keeper and finishing the open shot to tie up the match.
As the teams went into halftime with a 1-1 tie, LVPSA realized it was in the same position as Tuesday’s match, where it went into the break with the same score.
LVPSA midfielder Alexis Pashales noted that the halftime discussion was about “forgetting about the mistakes in the first half and to really keep driving for a goal.”
“I told the girls to stay with what they know and they got the result they needed,” LVPSA head coach Michael Madrid said. “Yesterday was a tie, but today they pulled through.”
The second half was a different story as LVPSA picked up the pace and attacked with high pressure. It took two minutes into the half for the Nevada side to obtain the go-ahead goal, where LVPSA sent a diagonal free kick over the defense for Pashales to head into the net.
In the 65th minute, Pashales earned some breathing room for the Nevada side as she followed up a shot off the crossbar by blasting a volley into the net for her second goal of the match. To top off the match, Jacqueline Hillegass slipped the ball on the ground past the goalkeeper to give LVPSA the 4-1 win.
“I feel like we really stepped it up in the second half,” Pashales said. “We really wanted to win this game and make sure we make it through to the finals.”
As the defending National Champion, LVPSA knows what it feels like to win, and the players want to experience it again.
“With the tie yesterday, today was a must-win going into tomorrow, so it was all about leaving it on the field and girls coming out ready to play,” Madrid said. “I think the girls know what it takes. Obviously we did it last year, but with the competition gunning for you, I feel they need to rise to the occasion and they have so far.
“We feel this is the best event,” Madrid said talking about the National Championships as a whole. “The competition is phenomenal and we’re excited to be here, and hopefully we’re here for years to come.”