Thrown together quickly to fill an opening in a tournament, a group of girls from Clark County won a national soccer tournament on Monday.
Ellie Boon scored four second-half goals, leading the Vancouver Timbers Red to a 5-1 triumph over the Eau Claire (Wis.) Aris Ladies to claim first place in a girls under-17 bracket at the U.S. Club Soccer National Cup XI Finals in Waukegan, Ill.
This is the second year in a row that a Vancouver Timbers girls team has won a title in the oldest age group at the National Cup tournament. Both titles came in the lower of two skill levels offered by U.S. Club Soccer.
Vancouver had two wins and a tie in the round-robin portion of this tournament to reach Monday's championship match.
The championship match was tied 1-1 at halftime, thanks to goal by a Maddie Reynolds. Taking advantage of a change in formation, Boon scored four goals in a 30-minute span of the second half for the Timbers, with Reynolds assisting the first two of those.
Of the four teams from Clark County at the National Cup XI, only one qualified to play for a championship.
Boon, who will be a senior at Washougal High School this year, played sparingly at nationals before Monday's championship. Like many of the Vancouver players, she was nursing an injury.
Nicole Mattson led the team with four goals and three assists in the games leading up to Monday's final.
This Vancouver Timbers team was a combination of four VUSA teams that were put together when coach Joey Fleming got a call from a director of the regional U.S. Club Soccer tournament asking if Vancouver could fill an open spot in that June event. Fleming said he had just as few days to find players.
"This isn't something we had planned," he said.
It was a nice bonus, according to Fleming, since it gave the girls an added chance to be seen by college coaches from outside of the Pacific Northwest.
The roster included players from three age groups. It won eight of the nine matches it played together over the regional and national tournaments.
U.S. Club Soccer is separate from U.S. Youth Soccer, which has a national championship structure that requires teams to win their way through top-level state and regional tournaments to play in a national championship. U.S. Club Soccer started hosting its national tournament 11 years ago to give member clubs additional opportunities to compete in regional and national events.
Fleming said central defenders Ana Delgadillo and Carlee Maluenda played a strong tournament. Having 18 players at the tournament was significant, Fleming said.
"They kind of worked for each other," Fleming said. "We took 18 (players). I think if we had taken only 16 we would not have won."
Playing for the champion girls team at the National Cup XI were: Milla Benedetti, Nicole Blake, Boon, Bianca Caruso, Delgadillo, Diane Dyra, Melissa Foster, Emily Kleier, Sarah Landers, Maluenda, Rebecca Mattson, Nicole Mattson, Mickayla Mury, Emily Ponce, Reynolds, Maiah Sharma, Charli Torres and Kirsten Watkins.
Three other teams from Clark County played at the National Cup XI after winning a regional qualifier in June. The Pacific FC Ice (1998) went 1-2 in the under-13 girls division.
The Vancouver Timbers Red posted a win, a draw, and a loss, finishing second in its boys under-16 group and missing the finals.
The Vancouver Timbers Blue had a 1-1 draw and two 2-0 losses and did not advance beyond group play in its boys under-17 tournament.