August 13, 2014
The Santa Clara Sporting 98G Green Team competed up one age group and won the 2014 Juventus Tournament of Champions on August 2-3rd in Redwood City. Competing in the Premier U17 age group, the Sporting 98G Green team beat three U17 teams including an exciting championship game against the Juventus Zebre Team 2-1. Sporting dropped their first game 0-1 against the U17 Wolfpack Team from SoCal after dominating much of the game. Santa Clara battled the SoCal team for 58 minutes and conceeded a late game goal to loose their opening game. But the team bounced back and easily won their 2nd game over the Juventus Thunder Team with a 4-0 score to put themselves back into the tournament race. On the second day of competition they battled an aggressive Juventus Lightning (U17) Team on a very small turf field. It was difficult to build attacks on the short field but the team dug-in and scored 2 goals in the second half to earn a spot in the semi-finals.
Their semi-final game was a rematch against the Wolfpack Team from SoCal. About 15 minutes into the first half, the SoCal team got on the score board with a strike about 35 yards from the Sporting goal. It looked like the ball was going to scoot across the Santa Clara net but the ball ended-up in the back corner to put the Wolfpack up 1-0. The '98s came roaring back in the second half and scored 2 goals while controlling much of the posession in a thrilling victory. They earned a spot in the U17 Finals with a gritty display of determination and left nothing on the field.
The championship match was another hard fought battle vs. the U17 Juventus Zebre Team that are ranked 3rd in NorCal. The team had to build an impenetrable wall of defense against the Zebre's very dangerous speedy forward Jillienne Aguilera - recruited to the Univeristy of Arizona. Sporting came-out with a high pressure attacking game while their defense held Juventus to only a few long range shots on goal. A goal in the first half put Santa Clara in the lead 1-0 at halftime. The second half of the game went back-and-forth as Juventus realized the younger Sporting Team was giving them a run for the Championship title. The Zebre Team equalized the game with 10 minutes left, but Sporting poured-on the attacks and found a late game winning goal on a corner kick in the Juventus goal box.
The Sporting 98 Girls Green Team compete next in the Diablo Cup and United FC Cup in SoCal before starting the Fall Season. Congratulations to the players and thanks to the five Sporting 97G White Team players that came to help over the weekend.