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April 5, 2011 > MVU reaches semis in San Diego tourney

MVU reaches semis in San Diego tourney

Submitted By June Heaton

Leaving a week of torrential rain in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mission Valley United 93 girls Black, a travel soccer team, headed south for the Nomads Coaches Showcase Tournament in San Diego.

The sunny SoCal weather was a welcome change for the team as they went up against Cypress Elite Blue, bright and early Saturday morning, March 26. MVU struck early with a well-placed ball from Sarah Hardin to Megan Ravenscroft who quickly headed the ball to approaching Melissa Heaton. Heaton skirted through the Cypress defense to slide a goal past a shocked goalie. Defenders Priscilla Rodriguez, Kelly Castonogia and Kelsey McLauren kept Elite's retaliation in check until a flying shot over the defense would even the score.

Shortly after, Cypress received a gift in the form of an accidental MVU own goal, put them ahead again. Midfielders Megan Massone, Melissa Urena and Katie Lovejoy fought hard to gain back MVU's lead, stealing many balls from Elite and passing them forward.

Things would even up when Urena passed to Ravenscroft who ran the ball down to the corner and crossed to an awaiting Heaton who popped the ball over the goalie's head. Two minutes later, MVU would seal the deal with a lovely pass from Waing Noe to Shaina Charles who's cross would find Ravenscroft to make the final score 3-2.

MVU regrouped for their next match against Oregon's WSM Fusion. Fusion would be first to score off a free kick and MVU had their work cut out for them. Midfielders Lesly Correa and Jaime Turrentine kept the ball nicely in the middle of the field and defense would stop any further scores from Fusion.

In the second half, Noe and Turrentine moved move the ball up the field for many attempts on goal until Turrentine would sail the ball into the corner of the box to tie the score. With minutes left in the game MVU's Amanda Santillan trapped a high passed Fusion ball and sent it to Lovejoy who popped up to header the ball into the box. But Fusion's goalie would deflect Lovejoy's would-be goal and lose possession in front of MVU's Kimber Lohman who rushed in to finish the shot for a final score of 2-1.

Arsenal FC Platinum was next up for MVU on Sunday, March 27. In the first minute of the game, MVU's Espinosa punted the ball down the field to an awaiting Ravenscroft who would head the ball over an out of the box goalie. As the goalie collided with her own player, Ravenscroft dribbled the ball the rest of the way in for the first score of the game.

Arsenal was not to be taken lightly, and came back with a goal off a corner just minutes later. Another corner for Arsenal gave the team its second chance to pull ahead. But Espinosa would interfere with that attempt by knocking the ball to safety. In the process, an errant hand from MVU tipped the ball in its path and forced a penalty. Espinosa batted the rocketed shot out, but Arsenal was poised to capitalize on the deflection and shot on Espinosa again, who, still getting to her feet, would rob another goal from Arsenal with her second diving save. MVU would leave their third game with a 1-1 draw.

Quarterfinals matched up MVU with the home team Nomads. The teams were evenly matched with both taking shots and excellent defense. The game was physical as both teams knew that the win would mean advancing.

Noe, Rodriguez, Massone and Charles made passes with brute strength to Heaton, Lovejoy and Ravenscroft. But Nomads found each attempt at a goal and defended the shots from an MVU advantage. The back-and-forth sparing made for a nail biting game with Espinosa, Moya, Correa, Santiallan, Castongia and McLaurin defeating Nomad's offensive strikes.

Second half found more of the same. Lohman, Turrentine and Urena continued to try and get the ball into the box. At this point the game could have been anyone's and things were getting even more physical. MVU kept their cool and moved the ball up to Nomad's box where Turrentine was fouled trying to set up a shot. With a free kick from 20 yards out, Heaton would make the only score of the game and advance MVU into the semifinals.

In the semifinals, MVU took on Exile Black. A show of force from the start, Exiles proved to be another physical team. Unfortunately for them their tactics would not detour MVU. Having been up against teams that use force to intimidate, MVU were determined to play clean and not draw any fouls that would advance Exile. A strong run into MVU's half would force corner kick that Exile would capitalize on and take the lead.

In the second half, MVU's Turrentine would score off an assist from Hardin to end the game in a tie and force going into PKs. But netted shots from Massone and Ravenscroft would not be enough for MVU, and Exiles would come away the victors.

MVU remained undefeated in regulation play and brings home a showcased semifinal victory to add to their list of accomplishments this season.

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