North Carolina - The 2006, 2005, and 2004 SLSG ECNL RL NAVY teams traveled to Greensboro, North Carolina this past weekend to participate in the USYS National League Showcase. The showcase and playoff series was a four-day event with the 06 & 05 groups starting on Friday and finishing Sunday and the 2004’s starting on Saturday and finishing up Monday morning.
The 2006 / U15 SLSG ECNLRL NAVY group actually played in the U16 division for this event, reflecting just how deep the age group is in St. Louis. Match one did not go as planned, with Navy falling 0-3 to a solid Ohio team. But the performance was positive and gave the team encouragement they could compete up a year. In the 2005’s first match they found themselves on the front foot early with several near chances. The team carried the game and with only minutes remaining Miranda Malcom put one in the back of the net for St. Louis, giving the U16’s a 1-0 win over Galaxy Soccer Club.
Saturday afternoon presented an added challenge. Rain and somewhat heavy fields made play a little less “pretty”. One of the exciting factors to attending a national showcase is that the competition is not only of a high level, but also from all over the country. The U15s were fortunate to face a new opponent, the Rochester Lancers FC (NY), and played a gritty match that saw Vita Lorms bag a goal in the second half to secure the win. In the same time-slot, the U16s faced FC Dynamo and after a hard battle back and forth game, the two teams had to settle for a very much deserved draw. And even though the U17s were finishing the day for SLSG, they were just beginning their run towards the national playoffs. A positive result on each of the three days would see them qualify for the National tournament in July. The 2004 group kicked off their week versus Galaxy Soccer Club were pushed to their limits and handled the pressure well, but in the end the game ended 0-0.
The last day of the event for the U15 and U16 were scheduled to play U16 D’Feeters (TX) & Lexington FC (KY) respectively. This would be the final day of competition for the two groups and the energy was high as the girls anticipated their last club game of the season. The U16s came out on the front foot again and put a hurting on the opponent’s goal, smashing five in the net. The 5-2 win included goals by Lindsay Glover, Maeve Stuckey, Avery Bangert, Ryann Ouchi, and Maddie Clark. The spotlight game of the day, though, was the u17’s who were competing against 2x National League Champions SC Wave. With the game fairly even, SC Wave was able to pull ahead towards the end of the first half taking a 1-0 lead. Navy would not hang their head, and for the first 10 minutes of the second half Navy dominated. The pressure led to a nice little play that ended in Olivia Beam being fouled in the box and Rachel Jackson was able to put the ball in the back of the net off a PK; 1-1 game. But, the Wave is a quality side and eventually they withstood the pressure and the game ended with a 1-4 loss. Great fight from Navy, the staff was proud.
The final day of the National League Playoffs the U17s were matched up against D’Feeters (TX). The game was rescheduled to an earlier time slot due to heavy rainfall during the early morning. Essentially the game was a mud bath for the players and not surprisingly concluded with a 0-0 draw.
SLSG Vice President, Steve Pecher had this to say about the event “ I would like to thank USYS for hosting the National League Playoffs and Showcase event this past weekend in North Carolina. It was great to be back out on the field playing against competition from across the country.” The teams finished with a very respectable 2 wins, 3 losses and 4 ties.
The SLSG ECNLRL Navy Program would like to thank all the parents, families, and friends of the program who traveled all the way to Greensboro, NC for this event. We wish all the high school players the best of luck during their high school seasons and looking forward to getting back out on the fields with the girls in the summer.