Winning Streak In Pursuit of Regional Cup Capture Ends at 9
Grand Rapids, MI- Down 1-0 at half time, on a questionable call that led to penalty kick, there was cause for optimism in the FC Milwaukee Nationals U13 Girls Blue half time huddle. Unfortunately, a good Michigan Hawks team had their own ideas about the games' outcome, and handed FC Milwaukee's lone, 2012 Region II Championship contender a difficult to take 0-6 defeat.
The U13's loss in the final ended a 9 game run for the regional title that began with a 5 game sweep of all comers in the Wisconsin U13 Girls' State Championship tournament.
In Regional Cup competition, the U13 Girls Blue squad showed resilience, and quality in group play, going 3-0 with a 3-2 win over Futura Academy (MO); a 2-1 victory over JUSC Premier (IA); and by convincingly defeating Riptide (MN), 4-1.
In the regional semi-final, against Kings Soccer Academy Gold 99 (KY), the U13 Girls Blue found themselves down 2-1 at half. However, Jen Wandt's 63rd minute goal drew the team level at 2-2 and the teams battled through the overtimes before the game was decided by a penalty kick shootout.
Celina Nummerdor, Libby Snyder and Taylor (TKO) Kerwin, each delivered the goods, calmy beating the Kings Soccer Academy goal keeper with their "kicks from the spot." Though Jenna Gazzana's play in goal was consistent throughout the tournament, the real pressure in a "shootout" is upon the shooter, and an intimidating presence defending the goal can impact a shooter confidence and instill doubt.
Hoping to tip the balance in her team's favor, FCMN U13 Blue's Coach Laura Culhanne chose to make a goal keeping change, with this in mind . The move proved a master stroke, as the cat like Jen Wandt, whose ability as a field player had earlier provided the game tying goal, came up big for her team again, making a decisive save to win the match 3-2.
The U13s were led by goal scorers Kerwin (3); Nummerdor (3); Camille Davre (2); and Wandt (2). Each member of the team contributed to the team's success throughout the season, through State Cup and Regional tournament play. Team members include: Kristina Barczak, Sam Broomfield, Natalie Clayton, Mikaela Hoard, Molly Hodan, Madline Hoitnik, Libby Kredell, Angela LaMacchia, Grace Lenz, Melina Murtos, Bianca Stubler, Jessica Zellmer and those mentioned previously. The team has been managed throughout the season by Cathy Davies.
In what amounts to her FC Milwaukee coaching swan song, Coach Culhane who will take a break from coaching club soccer said, " The girls shoud be so proud of their growth as players over the past two years. Winning all three games in our pool and finishing as regional finalists is a great accomplishment. Since this was my last year with FC Milwaukee, I wish these girls and the club the best of luck, in the future. I'll always be their biggest fan!"
Coach Culhanne began her coaching career with FC Milwaukee (then the Milwaukee Kicker Nationals) back in 2004, after finishing a her collegiate soccer career at Marquette University. She began with the club as a player at U14, bringing her total years with the club to seventeen.
Director of Coaching, Peter Knezic said of Culhanne, "Laura's commitment to the game and the club has risen to a really high standard as both a player and now as a coach. Having had the chance to coach her when she was a member of regional and national championship winning teams and seeing her end her run with us as a regional finalist gives me a great sense of pride. More importantly, anyone that knows Laura knows that she is quality person. The positive impact that she has had with our players over the course of her career with us will be with them for the rest of their lives."