Strikers U14 Girls Take State Cup
June 16, 2013
Shawn Destafney and the U-14 Strikers girls emerged from a grueling weekend in which they had to play their two toughest rivals, twice each, to win the Montana State Cup this past Sunday. With zero regular season wins against Bozeman Blitz and Magic City (Billings), Strikers found themselves facing both teams on the opening day of the tournament. And after tying Magic City 1-1 and edging Bozeman Blitz 1-0 on Friday (both goals scored by Brittany Delridge), the Strikers were forced to face off with Bozeman again in Saturday’s semi-final.
Bozeman jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first half, controlling the play and limiting Strikers’ ability to create changes. But Strikers regrouped at halftime, and midway through the second half, Sydnie Steele found space down the left sideline and crossed perfectly to Cassidy Pierce at the top of the penalty area, who drilled the ball into the left side of the goal to put Strikers level. Strikers scored again moments later after Delridge received a throw-in deep in Bozeman’s half, dribbled through several defenders, and then dropped off to Addy Scott on the left side of the penalty area. Scott took one touch and then curled a shot just over the goalkeeper’s arms for the game-winner.
The championship game pitted Strikers against Magic City for the second time in the tournament. After a scoreless first half, Strikers struck first on a Jill Madsen goal that was again set up by a Delridge cross from the left. Steele doubled her tournament tally later in the half, squeezing a shot between the near post and the goalie from a tough angle on the left side to make the score 2-0. But Magic City fought back, scoring with 10 minutes remaining to pull within one and then earning a penalty kick in the waning moments of the game. But tournament star Rebecca Joy was up to the task and saved to preserve the championship for the Strikers.
“The beauty of this team is everyone contributes and everyone has a job that they do very well,” said Destafney. “This team has never beaten Billings and has only beaten Bozeman Blitz once. This past weekend they had to go up against both teams twice to prove they deserved the state title!”