Very little could separate the teams in 19/20U Girls Group B over the first two days of play, and Thursday was no different.
Each of the games ended in 2-2 draws, leaving all four teams with four points in the standings. When the dust settled, Team Chicago Academy 1998 Elite (IL) finished on top of the group and ASA Coyotes (MD) advanced as the runner-up.
Team Chicago coach Dave Lovercheck said his team faced a similar situation a year ago. It entered its third game needing a result and some help. While Chicago took care of its game, the other result didn’t go in its favor and the team missed out on the semifinals.
“We stood on the field right here after the third game last year, and they said they would be back this year,” Lovercheck said. “Here we are. To get out of the group is great, and we’ll see how we do in the semifinal.”
Team Chicago Academy 1998 Elite (IL) 2–2 ASA Coyotes (MD)
ASA took a lead at the half-hour mark thanks to a Hailey Bicknell goal. However, Team Chicago responded after halftime with a pair of goals. First, Morgan Krause equalized in the 47th minute, and Jordan King followed that up with a go-ahead goal in the 58th minute.
Emma Anderson scored a vital tying goal for ASA when she found the back of the net in the 76th minute — forcing the 2-2 draw. With the result both Team Chicago and ASA earned a spot in Saturday’s semifinals. Thanks to its goal differential, Team Chicago finished on top of Group B.
“Coming into the third game this year, knowing we could control our own destiny, was a much better feeling,” Lovercheck said, comparing it to last year’s scenario. “We went down a goal, battled back to go up and then hung on there at the end. It feels great to move on.”
WSA 98 Red (OK) 2–2 YMS Premier Xplosion 98 (PA-E)
Defending champion YMS came back from two goals down to tie WSA, but the results of the other game left both sides out of the semifinals due to various tiebreakers.
Stephanie Higginson put WSA in front on a 33rd-minute corner kick when she rose up and sent a powerful header into the back of the net. Tristyn Edgar slid a shot past the charging YMS keeper in the 40th minute to send the Oklahoma side into halftime with a 2-0 lead.
YMS showed why it advanced to the final in each of the last four years, as it came out of the break with immense pressure. After some close calls, Murphy Agnew put YMS on the board with a left-footed blast from 20 yards out. Agnew pulled her side even in the 90th minute with a curling free kick goal that led to the 2-2 final. The point wasn’t enough, however, goals allowed favored ASA — leaving YMS in third place.