Preliminary games day 3 of 3 complete
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Lancaster, Pa. (July 1, 2012) –
Competition was at its peak on the final day of preliminary play at the 2012 US Youth Soccer Region I Championships, presented by the National Guard, as teams battled for a spot in Monday’s semifinal matches.
The National Guard's partnership with US Youth Soccer is focused on enriching the soccer experience by positively influencing players and coaches in areas of leadership and character development while adding a strong presence of American pride.
The Regional Championships carry a tradition as a proving ground, as every team must earn their way into the competition. Under-16 Girls BRYC 95 Elite qualified as the Virginia state champion and went 3-0 on the way to a semifinal matchup with Alleycat Lynx (E-NY). Coach Larry Best discussed what’s helped his team to this point.
"First is our bond. We have a great bond with this group, we’ve been together for a while, and you just heard the kids say ‘I love you guys.’ That’s what has taken us through since day one, they believe in each other."
"I think it starts back in our National League and Region I (Premier League) play. That’s where it starts and coming here, it really prepares us. We see a lot of the same teams, we’ve played them multiple times and we like that. We like playing the best teams and that’s the fun part; its competition for our kids."
"Playing at this level prepares them for college and that’s the focus of our club. We’re an academy program, we focus on the four components of the game and getting them ready for college. If we win, that’s fantastic, but our job is to get them ready for the next level and the competition at this level is always going to be strong."
"We want to play well. If we put a good product on the field they will get recruited, and that’s the big picture. Our kids have been on the recruiting track for a few years from the National League and Region I play, so our 2013’s are pretty much (committed) and we’ve already had some 2014’s commit, so we’re well on the track. They’ve been proactive in the process, so that’s a big part of it. Again, it’s just getting them ready and getting them seen and you’re always going to have coaches at this event so it’s great."
Notes from a few of today’s games…
NEFC Eagles (MA) knew exactly what they needed versus Empire United SA Rochester (NY-W) to advance to the regional semifinals, and they managed the game to perfection to take the top spot in the group with a 1-1 draw. A win or a tie of less than 3-3 would guarantee NEFC a place in the knockout rounds. A 13th minute goal from Bernard Yeboah gave the New Englanders an early lead and some breathing room for the result, as Empire leveled on a penalty kick just before the break through Ethan Kutler. The NEFC defense held off Empire in the second half to secure their advancement.
Manhattan Ajax (E-NY) needed to win by at least four goals and get some help from the score between NEFC and Empire in order to advance. With a four goal second half, Manhattan held up their end with a 5-0 victory over WVSC Wizards (WV), but didn’t get the result they needed in the other game as the New York side bowed out of the Regional Championship with a second place group finish for the second year in a row. John-Charles Bahr-de Stefano gave Ajax a 1-0 lead at halftime, and Andrew Silberstein double preceded strikes by Asher Mandel and Owen Elliot to complete the scoring.
FC Frederick 94 (MD) needed a win or a draw versus HSC Heat (DE) to move onto the semis, and the Frederick defense had their hands full as HSC threw everyone forward to get the victory they needed to advance. Despite having the edge in scoring opportunities, the Frederick defense held firm and Jackson Eskay grabbed control of the final minutes to run the clock out with some possession play for a 0-0 result to send the Maryland state champs through to the next round.
Led by an outstanding performance from Elliot Maker, who tallied a first half hatrick and five goals total, Seacoast United Crew (ME) finished strong with an 8-3 victory over Ocean United (NJ). Despite the victory, Seacoast missed out on the semifinals. Matheu McClure, Connor Reagan and Andrew Morrissey also scored for Seacoast, while Zachary McDermott, Geoffrey Briscione and Aaron Jacobson struck for Ocean.
Hardened after a season in the US Youth Soccer National League and a third place finish in the Region I Premier League, BRYC 95 Elite (VA) are looking toward a regional championship after defeating Yankee United Strikers (CT) 3-2 to finish group play with a perfect record. Yankee took a two goal lead at halftime on a double from Shea Connors inside the first team minutes, but BRYC responded in the second half with three unanswered goals in a six minute span. A goal from Kaleigh Riehl was bookended by strikes from Kahla Seymour as BRYC head to the semifinals.
Alleycat Lynx (E-NY) held a two goal lead in goal differential over PA Classics Academy 95 (PA-W), but needed a result to guarantee a place in the next round. A 3-1 defeat of Empire United SA (NY-W) was enough, as Lynx claimed top spot in the group and head to the semis. Mariela Jacome put Lynx in front just six minutes into the contest and Meghan Doyle extended the lead in the 27th. Empire pulled one back before the break on a Morgan Graus strike, but Skye Kaler ensured the Lynx victory with a second half goal and the score was good enough for Lynx to move on.
Finishing in a tie atop the group with Alleycat Lynx was PA Classics Academy 95 (PA-W), however Classics’ 2-0 win over MCU Portland Phoenix Firecrackers (ME) was not enough to give them the tiebreaker advantage as they finish their regional run. Leah Comiskey grabbed a brace to lead Classics with both goals, and although the defense completed a shutout, it wasn’t enough to overtake Lynx.
Regional winners of the Under-14 through Under-19 age groups earn a berth to the 2012 US Youth Soccer National Championships to be played July 23-29, at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill, S.C.
The US Youth Soccer National Championships will consist of US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in the Under-14 through Under-19 Boys and Girls age groups as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the Under-15 through Under-17 Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of 60 teams.