Crimson Tide finishes 2nd at Northwest sectionals
The Carson Valley Crimson Tide U12 girls’ AYSO soccer team returned from Foster City, Calif., with medals and plenty of memories from the Great Eight Section 2 Championships.
Carson Valley finished second place in the elite tournament after qualifying to be in the eight-team field representing five states. The Crimson Tide won the region tournament and the area championship earlier this season.
The girls began the tournament with a 4-0 win over Saratoga, Calif., in which Holly Downer had two goals. Tiffany Thomas and Tia Lyons each added one goal.
They finished the afternoon round by beating Pacifica, Calif., in a very physical 2-1 game.
In that game, Downer again scored along with Katie Dry.
Those games set up the semifinal round against defending champion Redwood City, Calif., a team that hadn’t lost a game in two years.
The Crimson Tide scored early with another goal from Downer, and then Dry added an insurace goal in the second half. The Tide’s defense held on and the team won 2-0 to earn a berth into the championship game.
“We really have an outstanding offensive group on the front lines with Holly, Tiffany, Tia and Kelsey Walsh,” Coach Steve Walsh said. “But our defense has been our biggest strength throughout the regular season and into the tournaments.”
Walsh noted the play of Cara Dunkelman, Megan Filbin, Elizabeth Morton, Taylor Killion, Brittney Lathrop, Allison Kraten, Erica Macias, Krystal Vargas and Dry on defense.
“The leader of the group is our goalie, Jenna Geyer,” Walsh said. “Together, this group has compiled a tournament record of 7-0 with three ties while allowing just four goals in 10 games and scoring 23 of their own.”
Before the championship game began, tournament officials awarded the Crimson Tide with the outstanding sportsmanship medal for the tournament.
“We have an exceptional group of young ladies on this team,” Walsh said. “They play hard and tough on the field, but before and after the game and off the field, they are very respectful and mature players.”
The championship game against Millbrae, Calif., began with the Tide giving up an early goal. The team never let up and soon tied the game with Downer’s fifth goal of the tournament.
The Tide then pushed the score to 3-1 with two quick goals by Lyons to take the lead at the half.
The second half began with Millbrae coming out and using its size and strength advantage to take the lead at 4-3. Again the Tide defense reached deep inside and took a stand.
Down one goal with time running out, the Crimson Tide turned on the pressure and with a relentless effort, they scored the game-tying goal on a perfect crossing pass from Downer to Lyons in front of the net.
The game ended with a 4-4 tie and went to a shootout to determine the winner.
“We would have much rather had the game played out on the field in an overtime period,” Walsh said. “Shootouts are so tough because of the added pressure to the girls and they are so unpredictable.”
When the shootout ended, Millbrae had a one-goal advantage and was awarded the championship.
“It’s been an incredible season,” Walsh said. “The parents and the coaches of this team are so proud of these young ladies. We want to thank all those who helped us reach our goal.
“We wanted to thank Carson Valley AYSO for all their support financially and with equipment and also a big thanks to the parks department for letting us use the lgihts at Stodick Park to practice and prepare for the tournament.”