The Edmond Sun
Sunday brought an end to the exciting preliminary games at the 2013 US Youth Soccer Region III (South) Championships, presented by the National Guard, at the Service-Black Soccer Complex in Edmond. The chase for a regional and national championship continues for the 90 teams who have qualified to move on from their preliminary groups.
Monday will feature quarterfinal matches in the Under-14 through Under-16 age groups. The earliest games begin at 8:30 a.m. CT and continue throughout the day with the final matches kicking off at 1:30 p.m.
The first Region III Championships final is set, as NASA 12 Elite II (Ga.) will face TBU Premier Girls 93 (Fla.) for the Under-19 girls title. The only goal each team has allowed through three games came against the other squad, as the two sides tied 1-1 in their matchup on Friday. NASA is looking to win its second Region III Championship, as the Georgia side won in 2011 but fell in the semifinals last year.
Here are some recaps of a few of Sunday’s key games…
TSC Hurricane 99 Bedwell (Okla.) and HESC 99B Navy (Texas-S) each won their games on Sunday, leaving them with identical records atop Under-14 Boys Pool C. None of the five tiebreakers used can separate the two, so they will meet at noon Monday to use kicks from the penalty spot to determine first and second place in the group. Each team has qualified for the quarterfinals, but this rare tiebreaker will determine seeding for Monday’s 1:30 p.m. games.
Elsewhere in Under-14 Boys action, a pair of 2012 semifinalists needed positive results Sunday to guarantee advancement to the quarterfinals. Solar Chelsea Red 99 (Texas-N) and Texas Rush 99-Prep (Texas-S) each posted shutout wins to book a spot in the knockout rounds. Both squads are looking to make a run to the finals after falling in last year’s semifinal round.
Two of the most exciting finishes of the day came in afternoon games on the boys’ side — the first occurring in the Under-17 boys game between Blitz Thunder United 96 Boys (Okla.) and Concorde Fire Elite (Ga.). A 60th-minute goal by Concorde Fire’s Andrew Smith looked like it would hold up and push them through to the quarterfinals as Pool A runners-up. But Jacob Rector scored a dramatic tying goal in the second minute of stoppage time that gave BTU the tie it needed to grab the second spot in the group and advance to the knockout rounds.
Similar late heroics were needed to push 2011 Region III Champion Under-18 Boys CESA 94 Premier (S.C.) through to the quarterfinals. The Premier League East winners needed a victory against HFC Red (N.C.), who sat above them in the standings entering the day. Jackson Allen opened the scoring for HFC, but Austin Huddy scored twice to put CESA 94 up heading into the second half. It looked like HFC’s Juan Escobedo scored the goal that would put his side through to the quarterfinals in 81st minute before CESA 94 struck in the final seconds. William Norris’ long throw into the box led to a scramble, and James Campbell knocked in the winning goal with the final kick of the game to send his team into an ecstatic celebration and Tuesday’s quarterfinals.
In the Under-16 boys age group, Lonestars 97 Red SAN (Texas-S) came up just short against group-winner Boca United 96/97 Gold (Fla.) in a must-win game. Boca broke through in the 50th minute on a Rodrigo Torres goal, but Lonestars responded in the 63rd when Luis Espinar netted an equalizer. Boca’s Tomer Bitton scored a late winner to help Boca finish atop the group, while the Lonestars’ loss meant they finished third and will not advance.
Under-17 girls Albion Hurricanes FC 96 (Texas-S) needed a win or tie Sunday against BRSC/CSC 96 Alliance (La.) to move through to the quarterfinals. AHFC jumped ahead in the 52nd minute on an Adelaida Garza goal and got insurance goals from Laura Knight and Jacqueline Simmons to win, 3-0. The victory helped AHFC jump Creeks Clash Blue (Fla.), which tied American Eagles (Texas-N), and win Pool B to advance to the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Under-16 girls SCU/MP 96 Elite (S.C.) got off to a good start against 97 Norcross Fury Premier (Ga.) in a game it needed to win to advance. In the 5th minute, Briana Carney scored on a header to give her team an important first goal. However, Norcross Fury’s Alexandra Probst got behind the SCU/MP defense in the 25th minute and just beat the keeper to the ball to poke it in for a tying goal. SCU/MP couldn’t break through in the second half as it came up just short on advancing. The tie was enough to push Norcross Fury to the top of the tightly-contested pool, while fellow Georgia side SSA Chelsea 97 Girls Elite finished second.
With Under-15 girls Tampa Bay United 97 Premier (Fla.) going 3-0-0 in group play, defending Region III Champion Tennessee SC 16 (Tenn.) needed a win or tie against Sting 98 (Texas-N) in order to advance. Tennessee’s Anna Green broke a scoreless tie midway through the second half to give her team a crucial goal. The Tennessee defense — which allowed no goals during its state championships run and just one so far in Edmond — held strong to preserve the 1-0 win and move the defending champions into the quarterfinals.
Regional winners earn a berth to the 2013 US Youth Soccer National Championships, which will be played July 22-28 at Overland Park Soccer Complex in Overland Park, Kan.
The US Youth Soccer National Championships will consist of US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in the Under-13 through Under-19 boys and girls age groups, as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the Under-15 through Under-18 boys and girls age groups to complete the field of 88 teams.
Daily reports and complete results from the tournament are available on http://championships.usyouthsoccer.org/.
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