FC Wisconsin's ECNL teams matched up with Elite Girls Academy (EGA) from Nebraska October 7-8 in tight match-ups that highlighted the competitveness of the Midwest Conference. The clubs' faced off at U15-U18 on back-to-back days, and nearly split the points between them.
FC Wisconsin had the best of the games on Saturday, with the U18s earning a 2-0 win, the U17s claiming a point in a 0-0 tie, the U16's also claiming a point in a 1-1 tie, and the U15s erupting for a 5-1 win.
The U15 game was easily the highlight of the day, with Dri Alberts dominating the midfield, keeping possession under pressure and finding good penetrating balls wide to break lines and create chances. At centerback, Sam Danzyk read the game well, kept the team composed and organized defensively, and made good decisions on when to play big or when to build more methodically from the back. Overall, the team showed significant improvement in their determination to win 50/50 balls, which changed momentum in the game from previous weekends. While there is still work to do in composure and skill under pressure, it was a big positive step for the team.
At U16, Emily Ehlert led the team with great communication and a strong defensive presence, giving confidence and clarity to her teammates. Lexi Prusow had a strong presence in goal, connected well with her backline, and made a big save when required in the second half to keep the match tied. The U16s had a strong mentality to win throughout the game, and were very active and mobile off the ball. Erin Hippo scored the goal, following up on a cross after sealing the box. Overall, the team showed good improvement in identifying moments to play behind the defense, and not to simply keep possession for possession's sake.
The U17s took a lead through an Emma Jaskaniec goal, but conceded the equalizer shortly after. Nicole Norfolk and Payton Steffen were sold in defense, and limited EGA's chances in what was a tight match. Cora Anderson came up big in the final minutes on a low, diving save to keep the tie and preserve a point.
The U18s dominated the majority of their Saturday game, starting with dominance in the air. Lindsey Weiss continued her strong season with another goal, and she and Hailey Farrington-Bentil were a tough pair to deal with all game for the EGA defense. Jordy Rothwell finished off the game by attacking a loose ball in the box for the second goal.
EGA began Sunday's games with significantly more edge, and it showed in the results on the day.
At U15, Sunday's match ended 1-1, primarily due to multiple missed chances on breakaways and other opportunities that kept EGA in the game and gave them confidence. The increased physicality and commitment of EGA certainly limited the effectiveness of the FC Wisconsin attack, and credit to the Nebraska club for their adjustments. Fiona Skierawski played well on the day at outside back, with great commitment to cover a lot of ground in attack and defense.
At U16 the story was similar, and it was a combatitive and disjointed match due to both team's commitment to win and to win physical confrontations. Jordyn Jeffers was solid at outside back, reading the game well to intercept passes and play forward to initiate counter-attacks. She also wrapped up well in defense and limited the effectiveness of EGA's wide players. Meghan Frantz added good energy and movement up front to add some extra bite in the attack. Unfortunately, in the tight match EGA came out on top 1-0.
The U17s started well enough on Sunday, but a missed penalty and missed break-away in the first half would come back to bite them. EGA finished far stronger - including finishing their own penalty - and claimed a 3-0 win.
The U18s also faced a more determined EGA side on Sunday, and neither team could break the deadlock. Maddie Daleiden made some critical saves to preserve the tie, and was matched by the EGA keeper who also did well on the day.
FC Wisconsin continues ECNL Midwest Conference action on Saturday as they face Eclipse Select from Chicago.