U14 Girls Finalist in COSA Fall Classic

Dutch Lions FC U14 Girls @ COSA Fall Classic (Columbus Tournament)

 

The COSA Fall Classic  schedule looked to be a though matchup for the Dutch Lions FC U14 Girls. The Lady Lions were placed in a bracket with Club Ohio U14 Girls Black and Michigan Alliance FC 98 Girls Blue . Club Ohio U14 Girls Black ended 7th in the Buckeye Division above the Lions and Michigan Alliance FC 98 Girls Blue is ranked as number 25 in the state of Michigan on the GotSoccer Rankings. Playing against these 2 teams would be a great experience for the Lions. In the Crossover on Sunday the Dutch Lions will play against Club Ohio Marrieta GU14 White. If the Dutch Lions will be able to win their bracket they face winner of the other Bracket (Club Ohio Marrieta GU14 White, Pittsburgh FC Predators and Crew Juniors West Black G14)

 

Dutch Lions FC U14 Girls @ Club Ohio U14 Girls Black

Date: Sunday 11/3/2012, 11.40 AM

Score halftime: 0-0

Final score:  0-0

Player of the game: Kaitlen

 

The Dutch Lions started aggressive in the first game of the tournament. The Lady Lions tried to pressure the ball all the time, not giving the opponent the opportunity to find open players. This resulted in the ball being on the side of Club Ohio in the first couple of minutes. The defenders were able to get up the field to mark the opponent. The lions were able to create some minor opportunities, but missed out on some of them as well. They kept the ball a lot on the same side of the field, not using the space on the other side by switching the field. When the Lions were able to switch the field they got more dangerous. On one of these few occasions Kira was able to play a thru-ball to Katie, who went 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper. Her shot just ended above the crossbar. The Lions were able to keep the ball away from their goal by marking tight, pressuring a lot and stepping up the field when possible. Kaitlen played a very strong game as left defender. Pressured the opponent, stepped up to midfield when needed but solid defense when challenged. Because of her strong performance she was chosen as player of the game on the Lions side. The Lions were not able to create a lot of opportunities in the remainder of the game and the halftime score was 0-0

 

 

In the second half the Dutch Lions seemed tired and they were not able to pressure the opponent like they did in the first half. The midfielders and forwards had a hard time getting open and giving the defense options when they were in possession of the ball. Because of this the Lions were not able to get up the field as much as they did in the first half. The Lions got pushed back onto their own half more and more. The defense has been the strong point of the team the whole season and in the first game on Saturday that wasn’t different. Without giving up or creating any real scoring opportunities in the second half the Lions ended the game with the same score as it started: 0-0.

 

After the game Coach Tommy was available for a quick comment: “ I think the first half we pressured the opponent really well and we tried to get open. This forced the other team to lose the ball and when we had it we were able to get up the field. The second half we weren’t able to bring the same effort and aggression to the game. This team is a division above us, but we played a very even game. This confirms what I am saying this whole season. If we are able to create offensively a little more we will be very though team to play”

 

Dutch Lions FC U14 Girls @ Michigan Alliance FC 98 Girls Blue

Date: Sunday 11/3/2012, 11.40 AM

Score halftime: 1-0 Lions

Final score:  1-0 Lions

Player of the game: Jennifer

 

After the tie in the first game the Dutch Lions faced Michigan Alliance FC 98 Girls Blue. This team lost their first game, which meant a Lions win would eliminate the opponent from making the final. Winning the game would also mean the Lions would be in good shape to have a chance of making the final. The Dutch Lions started really aggressive, pressured the opponent even more than in the first game. Because of this pressure the Lions got some minor opportunities in the first couple of minutes. Katie missed an 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper, but the Lions weren’t discouraged and kept attacking the ball. After winning the ball on the left side of the field Gabi was able to cross the ball into the box. A player of the Alliance team made a handball. This penalty kick was the ultimate opportunity for the Lions to take the lead in the game. Katie picked up the ball and took the PK. The goalkeeper was able to stop the kick, but because Katie was able to follow her shot she could score the rebound herself. This goal encouraged the Lions to step up the pressure and they kept the opponent far away from their goal in the first half. The halftime score was 1-0 in favor of the Lions.

 

In the second half the Dutch Lions defended their lead in the game with flair. They were able to keep the opponent far away form the Dutch Lions goal. When in possession the Dutch Lions they were able to work the wings. These attacks lead to a series of opportunities to finish the game with a second Dutch Lions goal, but the Lions were not able to finish the goal. By not scoring the final goal the Dutch Lions kept the opponent in the game, but the Dutch Lions didn’t give up any opportunities on the equalizer. Jennifer played a very strong game as center defender. Coach Tommy was very happy with her performance: “Yes, Jennifer played a great game. She stepped up to midfield to stop the attacks of the other team in an early stage. But I think everybody played a good game. This team we played had great skills, better than we do. We worked harder, have been more aggressive and just wanted it more. We won this game on character. That hasn’t always been the case this season and I am really proud we were able to do this today”. The game ended in a 1-0 win for the Dutch Lions. Due to the other scored the Dutch Lions will make the final if the tie or win their game on Sunday.

 

Dutch Lions FC U14 Girls @ Club Ohio Marrieta U14 Girls White

Date: Sunday 11/4/2012, 11.40 AM

Score halftime: 2-0 Lions

Final score:  2-0 Lions

Player of the game: Maleah

 

In the third game of the tournament the assignment for the Lady Lions was pretty clear, not losing meant playing for the Championship. With this in the back of the heads of the Lions players the girls started the take taking the initiative. With some nice passes the Lions were able to get the ball up the field. In only took the Lions a couple of minutes to take the lead. A shot from Ellie ended up right above the goalkeeper, who was a little in front of her goal. This goal helped the Lions confidence in a good result. The Lions were not able to pressure the opponent like they did on the Saturday games, but kept the Club Ohio Marrieta team far away from the Lions goal. There was only 1 shot on the Lions goalkeeper in the first half. About halfway in the first half the Lions doubled their lead, Marissa followed to shot of Maleah that the goalkeeper couldn’t hold on to. From close range Marissa was able to score the second goal of the Lions. Maleah was chosen as player of the game for her both offensive and defensive work in this game. The halftime score of 2-0 looked good for the Lions, especially since the Club Ohio G14 Black team was losing on the other field.

 

In the second half the Lions improvised a little with girls playing on positions the haven’t played a who lot in the season. The girls that played a lot on Saturday got longer breaks, hoping to keep them fresh for the final. Without playing a good second half the Lions controlled the game. There was almost no scoring opportunities in the second half. The Lions played tight defense and only gave up 1 shot on goal in the second half. Coach Tommy was pretty happy with the defensive strength the second half: “It was nice to give the girls who played 2 whole games on Saturday a break in the second half. We played very organized and we were in control of the game, even though we didn’t have the ball all the time. Our defensive strength is a great quality of this team. We can rely on that in games like this, which is very nice. Making the final without getting scored on shows how good this team is in defending”.

 

FINAL: Dutch Lions FC U14 Girls @ PFC Predators

Date: Sunday 11/3/2012, 3.40 AM

Score halftime: 1-0 PFC

Final score:  2-0 PFC

Player of the game: Kasey

 

Before the final the Lions expected it to be the toughest game of the tournament. Playing against a team that was ranked number 10 in Pennsylvania West before this tournament, probably in the top 5 after this tournament. Before the game the Lions talked about playing with the same intensity as in the game as against the Michigan Alliance team. Playing with the same aggression and intention to move up the field would give the Lions the opportunity to win the tournament.

 

In the first minutes of the games the Lions looked very nervous and nothing looked like the team that played the 3 games in the bracket. Players seemed not to want to have the ball, kicking it away and not getting open. The PFC Predators took the bull by the horns and started aggressive, with some good passes up the field. It took the Lions till the first goal, scored by the the PFC Predators, to lose the nerves and start playing soccer. Despite the Lions starting to play a little better, all the scoring opportunities were in front of the Lions goal. Player of the game Kasey was able to stop every shot in the first half, getting her the player of the game nomination. The halftime score of only 1-0 didn’t reflect what happened on the field, the Lions could be very happy they were only 1 goal behind.

 

In the second half the Dutch Lions played with more intensity, but they couldn’t keep the ball in the team. Passes were intercepted a lot and dribbles were blocked by tackles of the PFC Predator players. The good intention did lead to a couple of break aways. On one of these Katie went 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper, but couldn’t finish. The PFC Predators took a 2-0 lead about 10 minutes into the second half. A shot from distance was right in corner, impossible to save for Goalkeeper Kiersten. After this goal the Lions’ assignment got a lot easier: score 2 goals in 20 minutes. The Lions tried really hard to score these goals. In the remainder of the final the Lions forwards had 4 to 5 1 on 1’s with the goalkeeper, but non of them ended in a Lions goal. Coach Tommy after the game about the missed opportunities: “Don’t get me wrong, I think we didn’t play well enough to be able to win the final, but we could have. We got 6 times a 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper in the final. If we would have scored only half of these we would have won. Scoring goals has been our problem the whole season and unfortunately also in this final. That is the difference between a good and great team. I always hear that defense wins games, and that is true. But some finishing will also help a lot”.

 

After the tournament Coach Tommy looked back at a successful weekend: “Before this tournament started not a lot of people, me included, expected us to make it all the way to the final. I know we have a good team, but the competition out here was very strong. We played against teams that are divisions above us, ranked high in other states and we missed some important players on Saturday. I am very happy with the performance of my team this weekend. We showed the other teams what we are capable of, playing teams of a perceived higher level.”

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