Over Memorial Day weekend, the FC Wisconsin U17s traveled to New Zarepath, NJ to compete in 3 games at the final ECNL National Event of the 2015-16 regular season.
Over Memorial Day weekend, the FC Wisconsin U17s traveled to New Zarepath, NJ to compete in front of college coaches from across the country at 3 games at the final ECNL National Event of the 2015-16 regular season.
The team faced Southeast Conference club Charlotte Soccer Academy on Day 1 in a tight game where both teams needed the points, and was a back and forth battle for 90 minutes. Charlotte game out pressing hard, and dictated play for the first 10-15 minutes of the game. Some good saves from goalkeeper Jen Wandt kept the game scoreless until Taylor Kerwin beat a few players on the dribble on a counter to put the U17s up 1-0. The game evened out at that point, with some of the sting taken out of the Charlotte attack, but the Southeastern Conference team wouldn't go away and scored in the dying moments of the first half to even the score.
The second half started with both teams exchanging chances before FC Wisconsin scored 2 goals in quick succession. The first was a penalty taken by Kerwin, after she was brought down in the box in the 60th minute. The second was scored minutes later when a Bianca Stubler cross was acrobatically volleyed home by ... you guessed it ... Taylor Kerwin for her 3rd of the night. Though Charlotte fought to take a goal back in the 75th minute, the Kerwin hat trick, combined with a Jen Wandt penalty save, gave FC Wisconsin 3 much needed points.
The second day of the event featured scorching 90 degree temperatures as FC Wisconsin faced off against Northwest Conference club Crossfire United from Portland, Oregon. FC Wisconsin nearly took the lead in the 20th minute when a well-worked combination got Stubler free on the endline and her cross was just narrowly pushed wide by Kerwin on the back post. The athleticism and power of Crossfire United then took over for the remainder of the half, and the West Coast team scored late in the half to take a 1-0 lead into halftime. The second half saw some great saves from Wandt, and inspired defending from Kristina Barczak, but the Oregon pressure was too much. Crossfire scored a second mid-way through the half, enough to claim a deserved 2-0 victory.
The final day in New Jersey was hot and humid again as teams across the country fought to secure play-off spots or seeding for the post-season. Facing newly crowned Northeast Conference champion Albertson (NY), the U17s lost 0-3. Though a few good chances in the second half were spurned by FC Wisconsin and would have made things interesting, the team just couldn't find the net and the result was a fair win for the conference champions.
The U17s finish their regular season schedule this weekend agains St. Louis Scott Gallagher - Illinois and Sporting Blue Valley (KS), needing 1 point to secure a post-season berth and the opportunity to compete in the ECNL Play-Offs in San Diego, CA in June.