The girls from Vancouver United Soccer Alliance weren’t ready on Friday for the challenge at the start of the U.S. Club Soccer National Cup Finals at Boise, Idaho.
But by Monday, the VUSA Timbers Red were ready for a big finish. Maddi Barton and Kristen Berry scored first-half goals, leading the Vancouver team to a 2-1 win over the Scorpions of St. Croix, Minn., to win the girls under-17 Premier Division championship.
The victory avenged a 4-0 loss to the same team on the opening day of the tournament, which featured four regional tournament winners.
The Premier Division is one of two at each age division of U.S. Club Soccer that crowns a national champion. U.S. Club Soccer is a member organization of the U.S. Soccer Federation. U.S. Club Soccer tournaments are separate from the U.S. Youth Soccer championships that involve state cup winners.
This VUSA Timbers Red team for girls born in 1993 qualified for the National Cup Finals by winning a regional tournament at Seattle in June.
This is the second time the Timbers youth program qualified a team for a U.S. Club Soccer national tournament, and is the club’s first national title, coaching director Sunny Dulai said.
In the first half-hour of Monday’s final match, Barton scored from a Jenna Prewitt assist and Berry scored on a 30-yard free kick to give the Timbers a 2-0 lead. The Scorpions goal came about 15 minutes into the second half.
The championship match was a turnaround from the opening game of the tournament, when the Scorpions scored four first-half goals on Friday to beat the Timbers 4-0.
“We weren’t ready for the level of play on the first day,” VUSA Timbers coach Robby Trimbo said.
On Saturday, the Timbers played a scoreless draw. Needing a win on Sunday to reach Monday’s final, the Timbers got a goal from Kaylee Cropper with about two minutes remaining in the 90-minute match to defeat the Erie Admirals, 1-0. Chantal Paradis’ cross set up that goal.
St. Croix had outscored its opponents 10-0 over the first three days of the tournament.
Trimbo said his team stayed at the same hotel as the Minnesota team, and listened to St. Croix talk about how it had the championship won. That gave the Timbers a little more inspiration on Monday, Trimbo said.
The Timbers won a majority of battles for loose balls and consistently played at a much faster tempo on Monday than they did in Friday’s loss, Trimbo said.
“We did to them (in the finals) what they did to us on Friday,” Trimbo said, noting that the Timbers dictated play in the first half to establish control in Monday’s match.
Players for the Timbers Red U-17 girls at the national tournament were Barton, Berry, Amanda Bristow, Bri Brown, Cropper, Marla Drimmel, Haley Grossman, Kassidy Hall, Camille Harris, Marci Haynes, Bri Hill, Megan Hoo, Karlee Josephson, Marissa Mackinnon, Laura Morgan, Paradis, Prewitt, Sam Samwel, Sam Schoene, and Mackenzie Zink. The assistant coach was Michelle Wynne.