After advancing 3 of 4 to the Semis last week, U16 Girls set for this Saturday's 2pm Final, at Uihlein Soccer Park
Milwaukee, WI-Last weekend, FC Milwaukee Nationals’ (FCMN) older girls teams competed in their first Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association State Championships since the club struck up an affiliation with FC Wisconsin Eclipse. In State Cup competition, FCMN saw 3 of its remaining older girls teams advance to the tournament semi-finals, while 1 earned the opportunity to play in Championships match this Saturday afternoon, at Uihlein Soccer Park.
When one considers that all but one of the FC Milwaukee teams entered in this year’s state tournament were 2nd teams last season, Director of Coaching Peter Knezic and the FC Milwaukee coaching staff are proud of the club’s continued competitiveness on the older girls’ side, to date.
While FC Milwaukee’s teams competed in the Wisconsin State Championship Tournament, their Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) affiliated club, FC Wisconsin Eclipse, whose U14-U18 girls participate exclusively in ECNL competitions, simultaneously played host in home openers against FC Chicago Sockers at FC Milwaukee soccer fields.
Several standout former FC Milwaukee Nationals’ girls players - along with a host of standout players from around the state - earned a valuable 6 league points, in 4 matches against the Sockers. FC Wisconsin Eclipse is the only club from the state with access to this rigorous national league.
For more on FC Milwaukee National’s ECNL affiliate FC Wisconsin Eclipse’s weekend exploits, click the following link: http://www.fcwisconsineclipse.com/home/665957.html
State Cup Overview by Team
Highlighting FC Milwaukee’s State Cup participants were the FCMN U16 Girls who earned a trip to the State Cup Championship match to be played this Saturday, September 29th at 2pm. In the championship match they will face a tough United FC (KASL) team, at Uihlein Soccer Park.
The U15s, and U16s each won their respective groups before falling in the semi-finals, while the U18s were unable to advance to the semis despite 2 respectable group play victories.
In U16s’ group play, Coach Peter Knezic’s squad, battled to a 1-1 draw against Sockers FC Wisconsin, before earning a 1-0 win over Depere Select Majors, and then coasting to a 4-0 win over Milwaukee Bavarians. The semi final saw the U16s defeat SC Waukesha’s U16 Girls Blue in dramatic fashion. Though the official score line for the game was recorded as 2-1, after a 1-1 regulation and overtime draw, the game was decided by a penalty kick shootout in which FCMN goal keeper Lauren Kalt made 2 dramatic saves accompanied by 3 successful spot kicks to only 2 for Waukesha.
According to Coach Knezic, Jenny Poss’ goal to draw the semi-final level, “…will be remembered for a long time.” Pay dirt was struck when SC Waukesha’s goal keeper under hit a routine goal kick that traveled about 25 yards in the air to Poss who punished the mistake by one touching a drive over the recovering goal keeper’s head, into the back of the net on a single bounce. Knezic credits the team’s strong collective defending keying their run of tournament success. In addition to coming up with essential, game changing penalty kick saves, FC Milwaukee goal keeper Lauren Kalt was consistently solid tending the nets.
U16 group play goals were scored by Olivia Giddings against Sockers; Poss against Depere; Poss, Giddings, Jankowski and Amanda Andreini versus the Bavarians; while penalty kicks were finished in clutch fashion by Giddings, Poss and Dani Skyler earning the U16’s their shot at the State Cup trophy.
Though it is difficult to place disappointing defeats on a scale for measure, Coach Tony Wright’s U15 girls semi final upset ranks among the highest, especially considering the team’s group play accomplishments.
The U15s swept through group play convincingly, conceding just 1 goal, with a 3-1 victory over Madison 56ers Red; a 4-0 shutout of Madison FC Gold; and a signature 3-0 blanking of last season’s state champion, Mequon United U15 Premier.
In the semi-final match’ however, Wright’s squad was unable to overcome physical and perhaps emotional fatigue from games prior and injury setbacks during the semi-final itself to key starters Eden Charles (central midfield) and Ari Banks (central defense). Conceding 2 late goals to opponents SC Waukesha, the U15s fell. Though the result was painful, Coach Wright expressed his appreciation for the girls’ efforts. Wright remarked, “The girls put on a spirited performance, but SC Waukesha played well. We had our chances early in each half, but being unable to convert hurt us down the stretch. We just didn’t have the legs to advance.”
After an opening group play 1-2 loss to the Croatian Eagles, Mark Lambrecht’s squad secured a semi-final berth as a wild card by rallying to defeat Sockers FC WI U17G Blue 5-2, and Brookfield Red U17 2-1, before falling to a tough Sockers FC WI U17 Premier, in the semi final match. Former FC Milwaukee coach Rob Lestina, now a Director of Coaching and the Sockers U17 girls team coach remarked, “I was impressed by how hard FC Milwaukee players worked throughout the game.”
Coach Pete Knezic was happy with the resilience of the U18s who fought through the entire tournament with just one sub and earning the first of their 2 group play wins with a 1-0 victory over eventual group winner, USA Stride in game 1. Game 2 however, saw the 18s lose a 1-2 heart breaker on an extra time Bavarian game winning goal. The 18s rebounded in Game 3 to defeat the Croatian Eagles 2-1.