After falling to Tennessee SC 16 (TN) in the opening day, KHA Red (OH-S) defeated MD United Coyotes (MD) 2-1 to earn a crucial three points.
“Yesterday we gave up a bad back pass goal,” KHA Red head coach Tiffany Roberts said. “Today, you could see they were mentally clicked in so that’s great.”
With Coyotes also losing on day one, both teams came into this match needing a good result to help give them a better position to advance to Sunday’s semifinals.
Despite Coyotes having a majority of the possession in the first half, KHA struck first in the 35th minute to earn the advantage. A bouncing ball came in over the top of the Maryland defense and the keeper rushed out to kick it out. The clearance was a mishit and the ball went straight to Sophie Gorman who lobbed a looping shot over the stranded keeper.
Maryland leveled the score just seven minutes later as a Coyotes corner bounced back out of the box to Juliana Comer. Comer hit a beauty into the upper left corner beyond the outstretched KHA keeper to tie the score at 1-1.
Maryland continued to control the majority of the possession in the match with KHA welcoming the possession and then looking to break on the counter.
The counter attack finally paid dividends for KHA in the 78th minute when Maryland turned the ball over in the midfield. The dispossession led to a through ball behind the Coyotes defense that landed at the feet of Jamiera Lunsford who was flying towards goal. Lunsford made no mistakes 1v1 with the keeper and slotted her shot to the bottom left corner to grab her team the lead.
“It’s very important for us to be here at Nationals, and it’s helping us represent Ohio,” said game winning goal scorer Jamiera Lunsford. “It’s our last time at Nationals together so we just want to go out with a bang and represent.”
Maryland continued to press and push for an equalizer knowing that a loss would deny them a chance to make the semifinals. The KHA defense was smothering though, keeping the Coyotes from having any really solid chances. The final whistle blew and KHA is now one good result away from advancing to the 2016 US Youth Soccer National Championships semifinals.
“We’ve talked to this group what our goal for the week is and they said, ‘Hey we want to win,’” continued Roberts. “I told them, ‘Hey, everyone wants to win here right? So what’s going to separate you from them?’”
Roberts talked about what playing and winning at the US Youth Soccer National Championships means to her and her players.
“I think winning is great, but it’s the times when you see them come back from being a goal down, or fighting in those type of situations which is most gratifying. So while I think winning a National Championship would be great, I think it’s the moments that this event brings to kids that is really awesome.”