After having to come back from deficits in three straight qualifying matches, the Union SC Crimson Tide U-17 girls’ soccer team saved its most dominant play for the championship game en route to advancing to the nationals.
On Thursday (June 29) morning at PDA Soccer Complex in Somerset, the Crimson Tide blanked Maryland Rush NPL by the score of 5-0 to win the National Cup XVI Mid-Atlantic Regional championship.
As a result, the Crimson Tide qualified for the Nationals – a showcase which will take place in front of college coaches – which will be competed July 21-24 at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind.
The Crimson Tide trailed in qualifying matches they came back to win Monday (June 26) 3-2, Tuesday (June 27) 4-2 and Wednesday (June 28) 2-1 vs. very formidable foes to reach Thursday morning’s championship match.
“Despite being behind in our first three matches, the girls remained very composed,” said head coach Richard Vera, a Union resident since 2000. “They kept to our strategic and tactical plan and came together as a team.”
The final was the only match the Crimson Tide never trailed as they rode the momentum of three come-from-behind wins in three days to dominate their final regional opponent.
“They gained positive momentum from each game,” Vera said. “They didn’t panic.
“They built additional confidence from each victory. In the final we got out to an early lead and that removed some of the pressure. The intensity of the qualifying round games took its toll on many teams.”
Before the nationals, the squad will continue intense practicing and preparation at Volunteer Field in Union.
These girls last year captured a US Youth Soccer Region 1 championship and advanced to the nationals, which took place in Tulsa, Okla. The Crimson Tide finished third to win the bronze medal. However, of the top 18 individual players the Crimson Tide had the most.
“We were very proud of that,” Vera said. “It’s very rare the same team wins two different cups in consecutive years.”
The Crimson Tide played its qualifying regional matches at Morningside Farm Soccer Complex in Somerset. First came a 3-2 win over B’Elite Chaos of New Jersey, followed by a 4-2 triumph over GPS Mass. 2000 State Elite Girls the next day. The third and final victory before the final was a 2-1 decision over FC Copa Academy Red, which – according to Vera – consists of players from all over.
QUALIFYING REGIONAL MATCHES
AT MORNINGSIDE FARM SOCCER COMPLEX, SOMERSET:
Monday, June 26: Crimson Tide 3, Chaos of NJ 2
Tuesday, June 27: Crimson Tide 4, GPS Mass. 2
Wednesday, June 28: Crimson Tide 2, FC Copa 1
REGIONAL FINAL AT PDA SOCCER COMPLEX, SOMERSET:
Thursday, June 29: Crimson Tide 5, Maryland Rush 0
July 21-24 at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind.
UNION CRIMSON TIDE U-17 GIRLS’ SOCCER:
1-Kayla Veloso-Lima, Union High School, will be a junior
2-Kelly Jean Severini, Union High School, will be a sophomore
3-Riley Haggerty, Union High School, will be a sophomore
4-Alexa Hansen, Central Regional High School (Bayville), will be a junior
5-Kiana Veloso-Lima, Union High School, will be a junior
6-Brianna Aguiar, Union High School, will be a junior
9-Karen Vera, Union High School, will be a junior
10-Coral Briber, New Providence High School, will be a junior
11-Gabrielle Lamadieu, Union High School, will be a junior
12-Takiyah Harris, Union High School, will be a junior
13-Michelle Taras, Union High School, will be a junior
16-Sofia Lospinoso, Brearley HIgh School, will be a sophomore
17-Annmarie Keller, Union High School, will be a senior
18-Alyssa Filippone, Brearley High School, will be a junior
20-Alexa Almeida, Union Catholic High School, will be a junior
21-Sofia Alves, Union Catholic High School, will be a sophomore
22-Nicole Buczynski, Johnson High School, will be a junior
24-Kayla Miller-People, Union High School, will be a junior
27-Nicole Alfano, Union High School, will be a junior
Head coach: Richard Vera
Assistant: Alfredo Aguiar
Trainer: Olesh Postolan
Manager: Debbie Buczynski
Crimson 3, Chaos of NJ 2
Crimson 4, GPS Mass. 2
Kayla Veloso-Lima (3),
Crimson 2, FC Copa 1
Kayla Veloso-Lima (2)
Crimson 5, Maryland Rush 0
Kayla Veloso-Lima (2),
Kayla Miller-People (2)