Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Four Spokane Sounders and Spokane Shadow teams claimed State Cup and President’s Cup championships over the past month, wrapping up an incredible 2017-18 season in Washington Youth Soccer that saw the club’s teams earn 11 league championships along with nine other semifinal appearances or top two league finishes in RCL or FWRL.

At Washington Youth Soccer’s final set of tournament championships this past weekend, the 2001 A Girls capped off the club’s fantastic spring cup session by defeating PacNW, their nemesis this season, to claim the U17 State Cup championship under difficult circumstances. It was the team’s second consecutive state cup title.

Since claiming the U16 State Cup title a year ago with a 3-1 win against PacNW, the west side club has gotten the better of the 01A ladies, which have been plagued by injuries all season long, in all three meeting this year by goal margins of at least three. Still ravaged by injuries – including a serious injury to standout keeper AJ Crooks the week of – going into the Final Four Spokane reached the championship with a 2-0 victory over Eastside FC, but it looked like they were going to suffer the same fate against PacNW in the final down 2-0 early in the match.

Semifinal goal scorer Chloe Gellhaus, however, broke through for Spokane just before the intermission and then Olivia DeShazo netted the equalizer midway through the second half. The contest would ultimately go to penalties where new goalkeeper Eden Elliot, who was added before the tournament, made a huge save after a Spokane miss in the third round to keep things even. A PacNW miss in the fourth round allowed the ladies to celebrate following a clinching conversion (4-2) from Gellhaus in the fifth round, claiming a repeat title despite missing Crooks, Amber Hickman, Chelsea Koker and Megan Robertson, who had played key roles on and off the field throughout the year.

“We have been ravaged by injuries this year and have never had our full roster healthy. It impacted our results at times but slowly built a resilient mindset. However, losing AJ the week leading into the semifinals was a big shock, thankfully we had added Eden to our roster for State Cup, said head coach Kevin Moon. “It would have been so easy to have given up being down two 20 minutes in but the girls were determined not to let a slow start keep them from what they wanted. They battled back fiercely and deserved what they got in the end. If you believe you have a chance, you do. If you think its over, it is. Always fight to the very end. That was our attitude in the final and because the girls fought they won a second consecutive championship.”

In the prior weekend, three teams captured Washington Youth Soccer President’s Cup state championships. The Boys and Girls 2006A Valley sides each won U12 championships and the 2004 Shadow United ladies won in a U14 championship.

After posting a 2-0 victory over the Washington Rush in the semifinals the 2006A Valley girls claimed the U12-D1 championship with a 2-1 victory against Eastside FC. Kami Ellis put away a cross from Noelle Racyzkowski for the opening goal and then turned provider to find Naomi Kessler with a cross for the game-winning strike. Goalkeeper Myann Johansen only allowed two goals total in the five President’s Cup matches, posting three shutouts in the process.

Their 2006A Boys counterparts would claim the U12-D2 title with a 2-1 semifinal victory over RVS Orange and a 3-0 championship victory. Aside from allowing a late consolation goal in the semifinal, the boys controlled matters in the Final Four at Starfire from start to finish. They scored twice in the opening 15 minutes of the semifinal and then blanked Eastside FC in the championship.

“The final was our best team performance as we were dominant from start to finish. Eastside FC were unable to get there foot on the ball as we had high possession of it the whole game. We had three fantastic goals to lead our way to our best performance of the tournament,” said head coach Jesse Dunbar. “It was an amazing way to end the season and to end my run as their coach.”

In a showdown of east side clubs, Shadow United topped Three Rivers in the semifinal 2-1, rallying from a goal they allowed in the opening half-minute of the contest. Sadie Stevenson would find the equalizer in the second half and then Ayden Wells delivered the game-winner to send Spokane through.

The championship game was quite the stalemate with Bellevue as the two sides remained scoreless well into the second half and appeared potentially headed to extra time or penalties when Wells scored her second of the weekend with just eight minutes left on a ball from Reece Walker.

“The final versus Bellevue was a very tough game of soccer; went back and forth with opportunities from both teams,” said head coach Lance Hall. “Our defense dug down deep with some great defending and amazing saves from our goalkeeper, Kaylyn Randazzo, we kept it level. We went into the second half still at zeroes but had some great possession and scoring opportunities.”

In total, 16 teams advanced to the knockout phase of their respective Washington Youth Soccer tournaments for the spring session. Seven reached the semifinals before exiting and four claimed championships. The fall/winter edition of the WYS tournaments saw five teams advance to the quarterfinals, including one State Cup semifinalist.

Cup Champions
Girls 2001A – U17 State Cup
Girls 2006A Valley – U12-D1 Presidents Cup
Boys 2006A Valley – U12-D2 Presidents Cup
Girls 2004 Shadow United – U14-D2 Presidents Cup

During league play in the WYS Regional Club League six teams won their respective league championships with a seventh earning a midseason promotion. Two others finished as runners-up in their leagues.

RCL Champions
Boys 2002B U16-D4
Boys 2003A U15-D3
Girls 2004 Shadow United U14-D4
Girls 2005B U13-D4
Girls 2002A U16-D1
Girls 2003A U15-D2
Girls 05A U13-D2 promoted midseason*
* Were 6-0-7 with 5 goals allowed when promoted

RCL Runners-Up
Boys 2004A U14-D1
Girls 2001A U17-D1

And in the exclusive and elite Far West Regional League, which featured six Spokane Sounders side this year, three sides finished second.

Far West Regional League Runners-Up
Girls 2001A – U17
Girls 2002A – U16
Boys 2005A – U13


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