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March 1, 2011 > MVU girls-Black takes second in international tourney

MVU girls-Black takes second in international tourney

Article and photo submitted by June Heaton

Mission Valley United 93 girls Black, a Fremont-based U-17 girls soccer club, traveled to Nevada over the President's Day weekend - Saturday, Feb. 19, through Monday, Feb. 21 - to take part in the 2011 Las Vegas Mayor's Cup International Tournament. Fresh off of their high school season, the girls, without an opportunity to practice together, competed with some of the best clubs in the world and brought home a second-place victory.

MVU's first opponent was the Chicago Fire. Both teams battled a wind-chill factor that had the temperature dip into the 50's. The competition was fierce. MVU midfielders Megan Massone and Yvette Cuellar were steadfast at keeping the ball away from an awaiting Chicago offense. Then, in the last quarter of the game, on a set play, Sarah Hardin scored on a service from Melissa Heaton to put MVU in the lead.

But Chicago lived up to their namesake and the Fire came back fast and furious with a quick kickoff to drive the ball down to MVU's box and end the game with a 1-1 tie.

Game two matched up MVU with their first international competitor, Canada's Burnaby Strikers. Both teams were in a four-way tie after game one. Defense was not to be outdone on MVU. Kelsey McLaurin, Sarah Hardin, Amanda Santillan, Priscilla Rodriguez and Leslie Waing, along with goalkeeper Jessica Espinosa kept Canada's offense under control.

MVU finished the game with Shayla Funk, Kelly Castongia and Taylor Hollis keeping the ball in the Strikers' half, thereby allowing Megan Ravenscroft to net two goals. Finally, Leslie Waing shot on an unsuspecting goalie, scoring from 25 yards out, for a 3-0 final and first place going into Sunday, Feb. 20.

Day two's first game put MVU up against Nevada's Real Reno Select. Reno was not going to go down easily and kept MVU's defense on its toes. MVU needed a win to keep them in the tournament. Hard work from Katie Lovejoy, Annie Shi, Hollis and Funk kept the ball in a favorable position for MVU forwards Heaton and Lauren Duque. However, it would be Lesly Correa that would find a caromed ball just outside Reno's box, and tap it in to send MVU into the semifinals with a 1-0 win.

In the semifinal round, MVU faced another California team, the San Juan Spirits. Not wanting to head to the consolation match, Spirits came out very aggressive. However, MVU wasn't easily intimidated. They kept their composure and passed the ball around with determination and skill. Finally, in the last quarter of the game, Heaton received a pass from Correa and took the ball to the outside and past Spirits' defense. A few trick moves and Heaton shot at goal for the first goal of the game.

MVU kept Spirit in check until a breakaway would give San Juan another shot at the game. The Spirits' goal forced the teams into a PK tie breaker where MVU's Heaton, Ravenscroft, Hollis, Massone and Hardin would clench a trip to the championship round by making all their shots, topping Spirits, 5-4.

Monday afternoon's championship game was played at the Betty Wilson fields. The tournament was complete with local and international television cameras and flags from the participating countries flying in the chilly wind. MVU took on another California club, Davis Legacy, for the title. Having played Legacy in other tournaments, MVU knew the match would be a tough one.

MVU's offense was in possession of the ball throughout most of the game, but their shots weren't finding the net. Then, with little more than a minute in regulation, Legacy managed to get a breakaway goal to save having to go into a tie break and took first place in the process. Despite the loss, MVU is proud to have been in the championship round and to have been one of the teams that represented California and the United States in the tournament.

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