Photo By: Courtesy of Robert Blackburn
The MVLA Lightning allowed only one goal in the US Youth Soccer National Championships, but it came in the final, a 1-0 loss.
The MVLA Lightning surrendered only one goal over four games at the US Youth Soccer National Championships, but it couldn’t have come at a worse time for the local under-16 girls team.
BRYC Elite (Fairfax, Va.) got that goal in the championship game, and it was just enough to edge the Lightning July 29 in Rock Hill, S.C.
“I thought everybody had a really great tournament,” Lightning midfielder Sarah Robinson said. “But to go into the final without allowing a goal and then lose 1-0 was definitely disappointing.”
Especially since the Lightning had beaten BRYC Elite 4-0 two days earlier, though Robinson noted both teams entered that game having already qualified for the final.
“They’re one of the best teams we’ve played,” Robinson said of BRYC Elite. “They’re really good defensively and play an attractive style of soccer.”
The final was deadlocked until the 71st minute, when BRYC Elite forward Adrienne Maday scored from close range. The Lightning, meanwhile, failed to convert its plethora of shots.
“We had a majority of the chances in the second half, and it was unfortunate that we couldn’t score,” Robinson said.
The Lightning totaled 10 goals in the weeklong event, three of them by Robinson. The Los Altos Hills resident, who also notched an assist, received the Golden Ball award as the tournament MVP.
“I was pretty shocked to win that,” Robinson said. “It normally goes to someone from the winning side.”
Entering her junior year at Gunn High, Robinson has already made a verbal commitment to Stanford University. She passed up a chance to play for the U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team at a tournament in Eastern Europe so she could play with the Lightning at the national championships.
“I felt it was the right thing to do,” Robinson said. “We did pretty well, so I’m pretty happy with (my decision).”
Two years ago, the Lightning won the tourney’s under-14 division with nearly the same roster. The squad won’t get another chance next year, though.
“We’re moving to a different league, ECNL,” Robinson said, referring to the Elite Clubs National League. “The competition is similar, but the format is different and we’ll play a bigger variety of teams.”
The ECNL holds national championships as well, scheduled next summer.
Most of the Lightning players are expected to return next season, according to Robinson, as is head coach Erin Montoya.
“As of now, I think we’re staying together,” she said. “It should be really fun.”
Mercury finishes third
Another Mountain View Los Altos Soccer Club team, the Mercury Black, finished third in its division of the national championships. The under-15 girls team went 2-1 in group play, just missing the final.
After dropping its opener 1-0 to Legends FC (Chino), the Mercury topped Sting 97 (Richardson, Texas) 1-0 and got by Bucks Fury (Richboro, Pa.) 3-2.