On Sunday, November 4 at the Virginia Soccer Training Center in Fredericksburg, SOCA added its second and third girls State Cup trophies to the growing trove of club accolades by virtue of championship performances by the U15 Elite and U16 Elite teams. The club now has collected seven State Cup titles.
The U15 Girls Elite, under the coaching direction of Jimmy Tharpe, pushed past the Herndon Crush in the Saturday semi-final by a 1-0 margin that was not completely indicative of the control SOCA exerted on the match. While largely dominating possession and dictating terms throughout the game, the lone goal was notched by Liz Burns with only two minutes remaining via penalty kick. Burns converted the kick after drawing the foul.
The Sunday final saw SOCA jump to a 2-0 lead over Fredericksburg mid-way through the first half, and hold on to that score line to win the title. Cristina Valladares opened the scoring at the 21 minute mark with a dipping 20 yard blast that went over the Fredericksburg goalkeeper and neatly under the bar. Madeline St. Amand doubled the margin in the 29th minute by cutting in from the left flank and bending the ball with her right foot inside the far post.
From there it was a game of control, as SOCA defended without conceding dangerous opportunities while seeking to find the killer thrust when the chance arose. A few moments of excitement at either end failed to alter the score and SOCA rode out a deserved win.
The story was reversed for the U16 Girls Elite who convincingly won in the Saturday semi-final and were made to struggle for the championship win on Sunday.
Against a game Beach FC side in the semifinal, Maddie Packer opened the scoring at 15 minutes only to have Beach level the accounts 10 minutes later. The score remained tied at the interval.
After the break it was a back and forth affair until mid-way through the second period when Laurel Molloy scored on a penalty kick to put pressure on the opponents. As time ticked away and Beach pushed forward, Sydney Dombrovskis provided the finishing blow making it 3-1 with only minutes to play.
On Sunday, the Arlington opponents proved to be a tough nut to crack in the final, with SOCA prevailing 1-0 by an overtime goal from the ever-effective Ellie Cox. The game is described as a fierce battle of wills, with neither side conceding ground nor giving quarter. Regulation produced few chances and no goals.
Play was tough, determined and demanding. The outcome was balanced on a razor’s edge; a single mistake or moment of brilliance would tip the scale. Cox received praise for her consistent energy and creative contribution throughout the weekend and fittingly she provided the game winner with a top-of-the-box blast into the lower corner after five minutes gone in the first overtime period. SOCA pressed for the remainder of the first overtime period, and was forced to largely defend in the second OT period facing a biting wind and a desperate opponent.
Special commendation goes to goal keeper Jaya Daniel and the back four crew of Macy Drumheller, Emily Ward, Reanna Slater and Cordelia O’Connell who managed to repel repeated attacks. It was an all-hands-on-deck defensive effort from the entire squad that eventually won the day.
The squad, led by coach Dan Ensley, showed resilience under difficult conditions to claim Ensley’s third State title with SOCA.
Both teams will represent Virginia in the USYSA Regional Championships next summer.