FC Wisconsin Eclipse teams set an all-time mark for Wisconsin teams with 6 wins in 12 games at the ECNL National Event - Phoenix last weekend at Reach 11 Sports Complex.
In the final ECNL National Event of their careers, the U18 team played their best soccer, finishing with a 1-1-1 record. In the first game, the team dropped a back-and-forth affair 2-3 against San Juan (CA). Cassidy Blanchard scored first on a corner kick, and Maddie Pung scored to tie the game late, but an 85th minute goal from San Juan saw them take the three points. Day two featured another dramatic game, where a late goal from Olivia Wright saw the team claim an emotional 2-2 tie against Eagles SC (CA). In their final national event game, the team was convincing in a 4-0 win over Virginia Rush. Megan Runyan scored the opener, and a Grace Murray brace in the second half put the game out of reach.
The U16 team extended their ECNL unbeaten streak to 10 games, with 2 wins and a tie in Phoenix. A corner kick goal from Peyton Wesley continued a different streak and was enough for the team to top Arsenal FC (CA) on Friday. Another corner kick goal, this one from Emma Langer, saw another 1-0 win over Solar Chelsea SC (TX). In perhaps their best performance of their weekend, the team was held to a 0-0 tie against Eagles SC (CA), despite hitting the post twice and creating multiple other chances. The attack was led by relentless pressure from Mary DeWalt, supported by Kate Del Fava and Adi Johnson in midfield.
The U15 team started brightly on Friday with a 3-1 win over Sereno SC (AZ). Goalkeeper Jen Wandt made several great saves while Lindsey Weiss led a productive attack that created mutliple chances in both halves. Though Sereno closed the gap to 2-1 in the second half, a Hannah Compernolle breakaway put the result out of doubt. On Saturday, the team was unlucky to drop a 1-2 decision to Heat FC (NV). While the attacking play of the team was creative and incisive, creating plenty of chances, it lacked a finishing touch; a corner kick goal from the Heat in the 70th minute proved to be the game-winner. The final game of the weekend was a wildly entertaining match against national powerhouse San Diego Surf. Goals from Weiss and Libby Snyder weren't quite enough to overcome a second half deficit in a 2-3 loss. Solid performances from Taylor Kerwin in defensive midfield, and Madeline Hoitink in the back, showed the team taking steps in defending presence and mentality.
The U17 team started slowly in the desert, dropping a disappointing 0-1 decision to D'Feeters SC (TX). They rebounded well with a 1-0 win over DeAnza Force (CA) on a Brianna Jaeger set-piece in a match where the difference could have been wider. Their final game was perhaps the most dramatic match of the weekend. After going behind at the break to TSC Hurricane (OK), the team stormed back for a 2-1 win on goals from Allison Jacobson and Mariah Downs, led by gritty tackling and work in midfield from Gaby Dorsey, Kristen Corral, and many more.
"Finishing with 6 wins and 2 ties out of 12 games is a great weekend for almost any club in the ECNL," said coach Andy Lee. "When you look at where we were as a program a few years ago, these results are even more impressive."
"Last year, our program won six games across the 3 national events we attended - which was a significant improvement on the previous performances of Wisconsin teams in the ECNL," said Christian Lavers. "To match that win total in the first event of the year, in our second year as a program, is a credit to the huge work from the players. We are very proud of the culture they have established within the program in such a short time, and the energy they have put in to improving every day."
"I was really impressed with the mentality across the entire FC Wisconsin Eclipse program," said staff coach Billy Solberg (who is also Associate Director of the FC Wisconsin Nationals Development Academy Program). "The teams really understand the work rate required for success at the highest levels, and are embracing the toughness, mental and physical, that is necessary to be an elite level player."