After the second day of Under-19 Girls group play, one of the four teams qualified for the National Championship final while another fell out of contention setting up a crucial third day of matches for two of the teams on Friday.
Teammate Kodi Lavrusky tallied So Cal’s second goal, her second of the tournament, in the 63rd minute. Penn Strikers pulled one back in the 80th minute with a goal from Gina DiTaranto. The margin was again increased just a minute later when So Cal’s Blankenship got the ball outside the 18 yard box and slipped a shot into the bottom right corner to add a little insurance for So Cal. Blankenship’s brace completed the So Cal 3-1 win.
So Cal Head Coach Dido Tshimanga talked about his team after the game, "Consistency is big for our team. We need to maintain our discipline because we have a roster full of really good and talented players. The key for us is to play to the strength of those individuals."
"We have been here multiple times and so we are expecting it to be competitive. We brought in a mix of players to play with our nucleus of girls and we are fortunate to be gelling and peaking at the right time. To win the National Championship would be a great closing of youth soccer for these girls. They’ll be able to say, ‘I stopped playing as a youth as the National Champions.’"
So Cal will look for a win or tie in Friday’s game against NASA 12 Elite II (GA) to guarantee their place in the National Championship Final.
With the win, NASA becomes the first team to qualify for the National Championship final at the 2013 US Youth Soccer National Championships and Penn Strikers fall out of the running for a spot in the final.
Bravo will use tomorrow’s day off to prepare for Friday’s game against Penn Strikers. Bravo needs a win and a So Cal loss to keep their hopes alive. Bravo currently is sitting three goals behind So Cal in goal differential.