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July 3, 2012
Scorpions Elite hope to reprieve 2008 title

LANCASTER, Pa.---Under-19 Girls Scorpions Elite (MA) won a Region I championship in 2008 as U-15’s, but failed to reach the national final. After a tough loss in last year’s semifinals, the team decided to return from their college programs for their final year together and one last chance at a national championship.

Keith Caldwell, Director of Coaching for Scorpions SC, explained why the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series is so special to his players.

"I think the fact that any team in the country can enter and it’s a true knockout competition in every sense of the word. You play for the state championship and then the regional championship and then nationals, so there’s a lot of excitement in that. To start off with 10,000 teams and we’re down now to eight U-19 teams in the country, we’re just thrilled and honored to be one of those teams and for the girls’ sake I hope we can pull it off because they want it badly."

"The minute after that final whistle blew last year, on that field right over there in the semifinal in a heartbreaking game, these kids said they wanted to come back and give one more run at it. They’ve been talking about it for a year and we got together when the kids came back from college in May. We’ve been training hard and fortunate to add to the roster a couple very strong players from the U-17s and U-18s who have helped us, and we’re just thrilled to be in the final to be honest."

"I know for these kids it’s been their goal. Even during the college season they were saying they couldn’t wait to start up again, we want to give it one last go. So, the kids have been talking about it for a year and they’re just absolutely thrilled to get a chance to go back to the National Championships. They’ve said since they were 12-years-old they want to win a national championship and this is it, this is their last hoorah. Tomorrow’s going to be a tough game. We know they’re a fantastic team who we respect, and it’s just going to be a great game."

In all, four 2011 champions have advanced to defend their title, while two others were knocked out in Monday’s semifinals.

U-13G (NJ) *PDA O’Reilly 3-1 (VA) BRYC 98 Elite
U-18G (E-PA) *FC Penn Strikers 2-0 OT (NY-W) Buffalo SA Invaders

U-14B (MD) *Bethesda Lions v (NY-W) 3-2 Empire USA Buffalo
U-17B (PA-W) *Beadling SC 94/95 1-0 (NJ) PDA Harkes
U-18B (VA) Vista RFC 93 2-1 (E-PA) *Penn Fusion Celtic
U-19B (MD) Empire USA Syracuse 1-0 (E-PA) *YMS Thunder
*2011 Regional Champion

Notes from a few of Monday’s games…

Under-15 Boys

Manhattan SC Paris Saint-Germain 96 (E-NY) are back in the regional final for the second consecutive year after a convincing 5-0 win over Lehigh Valley United 96 (E-PA). Manhattan PSG dropped the title game last year to their Eastern New York rival, Smithtown Arsenal, and are looking to reach the National Championships this year. Mamud Keita led PSG in their semifinal with a hatrick, while Amara Sesay and Jeremy Barovick topped off the scoring.

The final will be a rematch of last year’s semifinal as Century V (PA-W) will join Manhattan PSG after an equally convincing win, taking down DMSA Swerve (NY-W) 5-0. Five players contributed goals for Century, with Ibrahima Kouyate, Justin Minda, Matt Lizik, Doug Hapeman and Hayden Bernhardt all finding net. Century are looking to avenge a 4-3 loss to PSG last year on their way to the national finals.

Under-18 Girls

FC Pennsylvania Strikers (E-PA) will defend their 2011 Region I championship after defeating Buffalo SA Invaders (NY-W) 2-0 in overtime. A defensive regulation period finally broke down in extra time as Erin Mikolai took a pass from a set piece and hit the far upper corner for the eventual game winner, and Daija Griffin added an insurance goal to return FC Penn to the finals.

Oakwood SC (CT) will challenge FC Penn for the regional crown after taking down Empire United SA Syracuse (NY-W) 5-0. Elise Galipo struck for the first and final goals and Kristen McAdams, Chanel Johnson and Ellie Jean contributed in between for Oakwood.

Under-19 Boys

YMS Thunder (E-PA), the defending national champion, was knocked off their bid to repeat by Empire United SA Syracuse (NY-W) 1-0. Empire was the only team to finish 3-0 in group play and have yet to concede a goal, while Zachary MacNabb scored the game winner to carry them to the final.

Baltimore Bays Chelsea (MD) overcame an early deficit to defeat Hicksville Strikers (E-NY) 5-1 and move on to the final. Strikers took the lead on a goal from Colin Heffron, but a controversial red card on Strikers’ goalkeeper Christopher Maierle resulted in a penalty kick which leveled the game and left Strikers a man down. Bays took advantage by running off five unanswered goals, two each from Mamadou Kansaye and Christopher Somerville and another from Joseph Shinsky, en route to the final.

Under-19 Girls

Scorpions Elite (MA) took down rival Penn Fusion 92 Gaels (E-PA) 3-2 to advance to the Region I final. After falling in the semifinal in 2011, Scorpions vowed to return from college in their final year and complete their quest to get back to the National Championships and win the club’s first national title. Lauren Varela struck twice for Scorpions and Mc Kenzie Meehan added another, while Claire MacManus and Sarah Cardamone kept Penn Fusion in the game with a goal each.

Bethesda SC Dragons (MD) jumped all over defending regional champion FC Stars of Massachusetts to build a three goal lead at halftime and the defense held on for the 3-0 victory. Melissa Downey, Katy Colas and Jacquelyn Moriarty all scored for Bethesda as they face off with Scorpions to advance to the National Championships.

Regional winners of the Under-14 through Under-19 age groups earn a berth to the 2012 US Youth Soccer National Championships to be played July 23-29, at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill, S.C.

The US Youth Soccer National Championships will consist of US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in the Under-14 through Under-19 Boys and Girls age groups as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the Under-15 through Under-17 Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of 60 teams.

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