On September 22-23, FC Wisconsin hosted Midwest Conference ECNL games against Michigan Hawks Black (Saturday) and Vardar (Sunday) at six age groups, from U13 to U18/19. Overall, FC Wisconsin matched up well against both clubs, generally splitting the points against each opponent.
In only their third ECNL game ever, the U13s won 3-0 vs Hawks Black on Saturday, with a goal each from the 3 central midfielders Reese Berge, Izzy Plasec, and Grasyn Dunsirn. The midfield did well to control the game throughout, while Anna Ohm and Addy Frantz were solid at the back in keeping the shut-out.
Against Vardar on Sunday, the U13s tied 0-0, in a game they dominated from start to finish but could not find the breakthrough. Plesac, Sophie Petta, and Rhyan Hood were closest to scoring multiple times, but Vardar’s deep defensive shape and tenacity proved effective.
Overall, the U13s showed a good foundation in passing, combination play, and competitiveness to win challenges – all things that will serve them well as they continue their journey in the club.
The U14s tied 0-0 on Saturday against Hawks Black to earn their first point of the 2018-19 season. The team dominated the early part of the game, but couldn’t apply a finish touch to the chances they created. In the second half, as Hawks Black asserted themselves more into the games, the back 4 of Lillie Tabor, Ramsey Botsford, Sam Surges, and Annabelle Pollock all stood out with good performances.
On Sunday, the U14s showed how much improvement has occurred in the group over the past 12 months with a 2-1 win against Vardar. Once again, the team had the majority of possession in the first half, put lots of pressure on Vardar, but couldn’t get behind the defense for a great chance. In the second half the midfield and forward line combined well to start to put more strain on the Vardar defense. Eily Henderson, Maria Nebel, Megan Cornell and Alyssa Thomas stood out in their improved ability to create problems for the opponent. Maria Nebel scored twice, with the second a great individual effort late in the game after Vardar had equalized.
The U14s have made substantial progress in the past year in their ability to read the game, ability to receive and strike the ball, and their determination to compete.
It was a disappointing weekend for the U15s, as they lost each game 1-3 as they continue to search for a consistent competitive identity. Against Hawks Black, the U15s went up 1 minute into the game showing signs of a new determination to start positively and aggressively. Hawks Black leveled just before half, and while FC Wisconsin created chances throughout the second half, none had the quality to force the keeper into difficult saves. Unfortunately, the team defensively struggled to give cover for each other, missed or lost multiple tackles in 50/50 situations, and the Hawks converted these mistakes into 2 more goals.
On Sunday, the U15s continued to have difficulty in defensive organization and in winning physical confrontations. The team created as many chances as they conceded, but again were unable to convert them while Vardar was far more ruthless in front of goal.
The U15s lost a tight 0-1 match on Saturday to Hawks Black. The team had plenty of possession, showing big signs of improvement in this key metric, but unfortunately lost on a corner kick goal – reflecting an ongoing challenge to physically compete for 50/50 and airballs.
It was the same 0-1 scoreline for the U16s against Vard on Sunday, in a game that once again could have gone either way. The backline of Sam, Fiona, Allyssa, and Jamie did well for much of the game, but in the one time their communication faltered, Vardar got behind and forced Syndey Kalinger into a great breakaway save. The second half was also hard fought, and the U16s had a majority of possession but could not convert the possession into chances. Anna Faust dominated the game in air on goalkicks, punts, and corners – marking a great step forward for her. Vardar scored the games only goal on a bobbled shot halfway through the half, and despite some improved attacking ideas the team couldn’t find a quality shot to even the score.
Saturday marked a low point in the season for the U17s as they dropped a 0-1 decision to Hawks Black despite holding the ball for nearly 85% of the game. A lack of bite and determination to get behind, and a casual attitude overall, ultimately proved very costly as Hawks Black converted their only real chance of the game late in the second half and sunk the hopes of the team.
The U17s showed signs that they may be turning a corner with a big 2-1 over Vardar on Sunday. After an even 1st half, Aryssa Mahrt and Abi Santana began to take over the second half with probing individual runs and good combination play to expose gaps in the Vardar defense. Mahrt finished a well worked counter attack to take the lead, and after a late equalizer from Vardar, the team re-grouped to create more chances in the final minutes. Mahrt scored her second from the edge of the box with the last kick of the game. They deserved to win the game, and the contributions of every player were key in securing their first win of the conference season.
The U18s started slowly against Hawks Black, and went into halftime 0-0 despite dominating possession and field position. A greater commitment to attack and get behind paid immediate dividends with a goal from Sophia Bliffert in the 46th minute jumpstarting the second half. Bliffert scored again, and Jordie Rothwell added the third after a quick free-kick from Emma Jaskaniec to put the game out of reach. The final score of 4-0 was fair but hid the slow start and need for improvement in attacking play.
Sunday’s match against Vardar was always going to be a tight match, and the first half lived up to the hype. The U18’s pressure created multiple half-chances in the first 40 minutes, but no player was able to connect on the key pass or shot to break the deadlock. In the second half, the team continued to press and was rewarded when Emma Jaskaniec found Sydney Schaaf to take the lead. Vardar significantly increased their pressure in the final minutes, but the dominance of Jordie Rothwell in the air made it very difficult for them to find a clear chance. In the end, the 1-0 win was fair and a mark of a very hard fought match by both teams.