PHOENIX, Ariz. (Jan. 10, 2015) – Seven of 10 Washington Youth Soccer Elite Player Development (EPD) teams advanced to the semifinal round of the 2015 US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (ODP) Championships, from which three teams will play for the crown on Sunday at Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix, Ariz.
Playing in the title game are Washington’s 1998 Girls, 2000 Boys and 2002 Boys. The 1999 Girls and Boys will also play in third place matches. In total, seven of Washington’s 10 EPD teams reached the semifinals, however not all age groups hold third place games.
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After finishing as the top team out of group play, the ’98 Girls took down Arizona 3-1 to advance to the final on Sunday. Washington came out like bullies, looking faster and more determined than the home side. McKaley Goffard (Three Rivers SC) gave Washington the immediate lead eight minutes in, and Sophia Viviano (FC Alliance) made it two less than 15 minutes in. Arizona grabbed some confidence with a goal just before halftime to make it 2-1 at the break, but Makaylie Moore (Eastside FC) regained the two-goal lead in the second half as they march into the championship match.
The ’99 Girls ran into a bit of a buzz saw in the semifinal, facing a Cal-South team that had scored 11 goals and given up none in their first two games. That trend continued in a 5-0 loss for Washington as they look to take home the bronze medal tomorrow.
In the morning game, the ’00 Girls fought back from a goal down versus New Mexico to earn a draw and the top spot in the group to move on to the semis. New Mexico bunkered down in a “Christmas Tree” formation and it paid off with a first half goal as Washington failed to penetrate the New Mexico defense before the break. After some halftime adjustments, Makena Carr (Eastside FC) notched the equalizer to grab a point for her team and move on toward the final.
Facing Cal-South for the right to play in the title match, Washington played an even first half but conceded twice midway through the second period in a 2-0 loss to the defending champs to end their tournament.
After tough luck in a tie-breakers situation out of group play, the ’01 Girls drew 1-1 with Colorado today in a consolation match. Washington scored just a minute into the game when Malia Hanson (Seattle United) turned a defender from a throw-in and served a ball into Meredith Udovich (WPFC) who finished for the lead. Colorado was able to find the equalizer in the second half from the penalty spot as Washington unfortunately finished unbeaten at 1-0-3 but outside the knockout rounds.
After three close, tough matches which led to two draws and a loss, the ’02 Girls stayed determined and ended their tournament on a high note, defeating Hawaii 2-0 today. Shaking off the frustration of the first two days, Washington pressured the Hawaiians from the start, but the net continued to elude them as the half ended 0-0. Washington’s persistence paid off in the second half as Mara Sovde (Crossfire) hit the upper corner on a shot from 18 yards to take the lead. Washington knew the value of a second goal after conceding two leads during the tournament, and moments later Sally Menti (Seattle United) added the cushion they didn’t get in the first two games after getting behind the defense and slotting home for the 2-0 win.
Looking to advance to the semifinal, the ’98 Boys faced Idaho in the morning and came out a bit flat, going into halftime 0-0 before running off three goals in the second half to win 3-0 and earn a matchup with Cal-South. Cage Roberge (Snohomish United) served up his third assist just after the break for Efren Marrinez Jr. (WA Rush) to finish for the lead and Robert Nurmi (WPFC) knocked home a pass from Jackson Ragen (Seattle United) to make it a two goal lead. Ragen then turned scorer to secure the game as he netted in the 73rd on an assist from Garret Miyaoka (WA Rush) to advance to the semifinal round.
Washington faced the regional giant Cal-South in the semis, and played a thoroughly entertaining first half in which both teams demonstrated some great soccer, but a 9th minute goal from Cal-South forced Washington’s hand the rest of the game and was the first goal the team had given up in the tournament. Coming out of halftime down a goal, Washington needed to push and Cal-South took advantage with two second half goals to seal the game, 3-0.
The ’99 Boys faced Cal-South in the semifinal and played straight-up for 65 minutes, but Cal-South finally broke through and has yet to allow a goal as Washington fell 1-0.
The ’00 Boys look as strong as any team in the tournament as they defeated Nevada 2-0 in the semifinal to advance to the championship. Washington has yet to concede a goal and has scored 10 in three games. In the semifinal, Dane Helle (WPFC) put Washington in command just 13 minutes in and Agustus Diehl (Whatcom FC) struck the insurance goal in the second half to move on to the title match.
The ’01 Boys faced the group of death in preliminary play and came up short of the semifinal as they faced Alaska in a consolation match. Washington made sure to finish the trip off right as they ended with a 2-0 win. Davis Noblat (PacNW) assumed the lead in the 16th minute and Zane Baumgardt (Crossfire) added another just after the break.
The ’02 Boys showed a lot of toughness to advance out of group play and that same mentality was on display versus Cal-North in a 5-2 semifinal win. Washington twice took the lead, and both times Cal-North equalized before the 02’s had seen enough and rolled off three goals to seal the game. Thai Wichienwidhtaya (Seattle United) established the pace with a 5th minute goal before Cal-North leveled in the 25th. Cole Fontenelle (ISC) then gave WA the lead at the break with his goal, but Cal-North again pulled it back just after halftime. That’s when Dominic Koester (Crossfire), Wichienwidhtaya and Ethan Dobbelaere (Seattle United) each hit net to put an end to the debate and move into the title game.