W.Va's U-12 Girls advance
BARBOURSVILLE -- In a span of 80 minutes, the U-12 Girls West Virginia United Soccer Club Elite went from controlling its US Youth Region I Championship destiny to easily placing it on another team's cleats.
"I guess we're just on baited breath right now," said a disappointed Christen Seaman following her Elite's 6-0 loss to Pennsylvania's Foothills Team Extreme on Sunday.
So she crossed her fingers and anxiously watched her team's fate unfold in front of her white-rimmed sunglasses.
The Elite needed Beadling (Pa.) to tie or lose its final group game with FC Bucks Freedom (Pa.) to become this year's only West Virginia team to advance to the semifinals.
Beadling tied, Elite is moving on.
Happy Independence Day, girls.
Elite will take on NJSA 04 Blast at 10:45 a.m. Monday back on Barboursville's Field 13, the same pitch where it got dusted by a superior Foothills squad.
"The Foothills are a very, very talented club," Seaman said. "I don't think they're 6-0-over-us-talented, but they're a very good group.
"I think that we had a lot of letdowns today. But like I told the girls, 'You're going to have bad days so you have to recoup with it and get back into it."
Thanks to FC Bucks Freedom and a 2-1 group record, Elite will get a chance for redemption.
Seamen's girls downed FC Sting (N.Y.) on Friday and Nashua World Cup (N.H.) on Saturday, giving them six points, two ahead of Beadling, Albertson Red 98 Fury (N.Y.) and RI Rays Sting (RI).
They will compete as U-12's wild card team in Monday's semifinal.
Their opponent, NJSA Blast, will be a more-than-formidable one. The Blast crushed Group A competition by a combined 14-1 score.
In other words, Elite has to tighten up a defense that allowed free runs and a bevy of scoring chances Sunday.
"(Foothills) just kept coming and they kept coming," Seaman said.
It seemed like the only time Foothills stopped was to take two referee-ordered water breaks. They scored off crosses, rebounds and nifty 1-on-1 moves.
And Elite, which has lived on timely offensive pressure from its skilled forwards this week, rarely could counter.
"We had glimpses where we did play well," Seaman said. "And when we did play well and we connected some passes, we got forward.
"But it wasn't enough. It wasn't often enough."
Perhaps Elite was saving some runs for Monday, when it will be the Mountain State's final hope for glory at a tournament played in its own backyard.
"Overall, I'm ecstatic with how they've performed," Seaman said.