The U14 Girls State Cup Final pitted the 99 Pool Group versus Dakota REV. U14 Coach Gabe Vogler spoke to the team before the game saying "We have 100% confidence in you to go out and play great. We have the best training environment and pool of players to be the club that will represent Minnesota at Regionals. Go out and perform at the level you have trained at and you are going to like the result."
The first half saw REV dominate with the wind as the MTA girls played very tentatively while at the same time trying to create a goal every time they touched the ball no matter where they were on the field. That combination meant that there was no rhythm for MTA and there were often large gaps between the lines. REV exploited those gaps and dominated play creating a few close chances before being awarded a penalty kick that they converted to take the 1-0 lead.
"Half time came and we had to get the girls to come out and play better." Coach Kaasa said, "We told the girls that their goal in the second half was to leave an impression that, no matter what the score ends up being, we are the best team on the field. Press harder and higher up the field. Do not let them put 3 passes together in a row. Dominate every air ball and fly at them for the entire half. Be dominant."
The girls came out flying in the second half and did everything that the coaches had asked them to do and rarely let the ball out of their attacking half. Eva Anderson won every ball out of the air, even when surrounded by 3 or 4 players.
The clock continued to run without the tying goal that MTA needed until 3 minutes left in the game when MTA was awarded a free kick 30 yards out from goal. MTA sent almost everyone forward for the ball into the box and REV had everyone back in their box. However, instead of crossing the ball, Adrienne Tarver went for goal and sailed the ball over the REV goal keeper, into the net, and sent the MTA players and fans into a fit of delirium.
Overtime came and MTA continued to press hard for the winner but no goals were scored and it was time for the shootout.
Flashback three years ago- Emma Greenfield was in tears after USA cup when the girls were U11’s and we decided to go with a different goalie in a shootout. She said she wanted to be the goalie in net for the shootout. After seeing that strong desire to be in the net when it matters the most we have known that we have a great goalie that wants to be a difference maker. - Coach Kaasa
REV won the toss and elected to shoot first. Emma G made an excellent diving save on REV’s first shot, MTA converted and were up 1-0. Next two players scored to make it 3-2 MTA over REV after 3 shots. REV’s fourth shooter converted. 3-3. Our fourth shooter missed six inches wide left, REV converted shot number five and suddenly had a 4-3 lead and the tables had completely turned and all the shootout momentum in MTA’s favor had been lost. MTA’s fifth shooter had to score to keep it going or the game was over. Essentially sudden death had started in Round 5. She converted for 4-4. REV’s sixth shooter converted. 5-4 and our sixth shooter converted to make it 5-5. Round 7. Each side converted. 6-6. Eighth shot. Brilliance from Emma G again for a diving stop. Final shot. MTA’s eighth shooter, Taylor Kimmel, scored for a 7-6 come from behind game and shootout win.
"Before the game we spoke about this group setting the standard for our future pool groups and they have certainly done a great job of putting that standard at a very high level. It has been our expectation that the USYS group is going to compete for a Region Title." U14 Coach Andy Kaasa said. "Having both USYS and ECNL competitions to compete in has really raised the level of play for all the players in the group. Through both the USYS and ECNL we really get to compete against the best teams in the country no matter what competition that we are playing in and we are excited to represent Minnesota at Regionals."
The girls will now represent Minnesota at the USYS Region II Championships from June 22-26 in Des Moines, IA.
Shootout Scorers: AT, Olivia, Natalie, Maren, Eva, Z, Taylor
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More info about the 99 Pool group
The 99 Pool group is coached by Andy Kaasa, Gabe Vogler, and Emily Fischer. The girls train and play together as a entire group of 34 players creating a unique environment for the girls. Rosters are chosen on an event basis so the girls play in a variety of different competitions and situations. The group competes in both the Elite Clubs National League and USYS Events. The group also has a team in both the U14 MYSA Premier League and the U15 MYSA Premier and both teams are currently in first place for each league.
If you would like to join the 99 Pool group please email Andy Kaasa for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org