FC Bucks Vipers end perfect run
BARBOURSVILLE -- Through the realm of US Youth Soccer, the FC Bucks Vipers (PA-E) and Aristocats (NJ) have built a strong rivalry that has seen the sides face off 14 times.
On Tuesday, that rivalry officially came to an end at the youth soccer level when the teams met in the U-19 Girls Division finals of the US Youth Soccer Region I Championships.
FC Bucks Vipers scored three second-half goals to break open a tied match and earn a 4-1 victory.
"They are the best players ever and arguably, one of the best female teams ever," FC Bucks Vipers coach Ed Leigh said. "This will be their third national championship. I don't know if anyone has ever done that."
Now, the Vipers will head to Overland Park, Kan., from July 21-25 hoping to repeat the feat after claiming the 2009 US Youth Soccer National Championship.
Before thinking of that, though, they had to get past an old foe that has proven to be a nemesis.
Part of what makes the games special between the Vipers and Aristocats is that both sides are loaded with NCAA Division I talent, giving the game a definite high-level feel to it.
It was the same matchup seen in the 2009 Region I championship when FC Bucks scored on a penalty kick in the 89th minute to earn a 1-0 win. That team then went on to win the national title.
To earn a win this year, FC Bucks had to do so without three players who were out because of injuries. On the other side, two of the Aristocats' strikers missed the contest after flying to Germany for the U-20 FIFA World Cup.
FC Bucks led 1-0 at the half, but the Aristocats' Kelly Conheeney scored to knot the game just two minutes into the second half.
After sustained play in the middle by both teams, Heidi Sabatura put the Vipers back on top with a goal in the 62nd minute.
The goal forced the Aristocats to come forward, and after averting several chances, Jennifer Hoy broke loose in the 84th minute and put the game away for the Vipers.
"It was a complete team effort with us just being persistent," Hoy said. "We are just psyched right now. It's so cool that we are going back. We are freaking out right now."
Colleen Williams scored a pair of goals for FC Bucks -- one to open the game in the 6th minute and the final goal in the 90th minute.
It wrapped up an impressive display for the week when FC Bucks outscored opponents 26-1 in five matches.
In the two years that the tournament was in West Virginia, the Vipers went a perfect 10-0.
"I'll never forget West Virginia, let's put it that way," Leigh said. "It's a beautiful state, the people are so nice and it's been a great experience."