Three teams battled for a spot in the 16U Girls semifinals on the final day of group play with LVSA 03 National League (NV) earning a spot after recording a 2-0 shutout against Iowa Rush 2003 (IA).
For the second year in a row, LVSA is making a semifinal appearance as it looks to rewrite what happened last year behind its toughness.
“For these girls, getting back to the semifinals means everything after being here for the third year and falling short last year,” said LVSA 03 National League head coach Michael Madrid. “The girls are staying healthy and mentally tough to carry them to this point and to the finish.”
In a game that was controlled by LVSA, it found a shot in the 10th minute of the game that was saved by Iowa goalkeeper Kennedy Buntenbach to hold the game scoreless. A shot two minutes later from LVSA rolled along the goal line and wide of the net as the teams remained tied at zero.
The LVSA defense held Iowa without a shot until the 23rd minute, but a save from LVSA goalkeeper Keyla Alba kept them off the scoreboard. Buntenbach made a save in the 33rd minute as the game went to halftime deadlocked at zero.
As the second half started, LVSA remained in control and took the lead just two minutes in when Olivia Garcia found the foot of Jacqueline Hillegass, who fired a shot to the far post past the goalkeeper.
Garcia found herself one on one with the Iowa goalkeeper in the 59th minute, taking a shot that was rebounded back to her, leading to a score of her own off the far post to give LVSA an insurance goal.
Iowa kept fighting until the final whistle as it took three shots in a five-minute span late that all went high just over the goal. A late attack from Iowa forced Alba in stoppage time to keep LVSA ahead by two goals.
“This team means the world to me,” added Olivia Garcia. “We advanced by working hard and never giving up. It is going to take a lot to advance further and keep finding the back of the net.”
The win pushed LVSA into the semifinals with a first-place finish in Group B. LVSA will face off against Lou Fusz 03 Blue (MO) who finished second in Group A after a 1-1 draw on day three against PSA National 03 (NJ).