U17 Girls Win Silver!
Congratulations to the U17 Girls team. Their hard work and dedication brought them a silver medal finish in the U18 Cup National Championship! Click Read More for a full write-up on the match from Canada Soccer.
You can follow the team online HERE.
Sport Chek National Championship U-18 Girls Gold Medal Match
Kitchener Spirit (ON) 0:1 Edmonton Internazionale (AB)
A noisy crowd watched the Kitchener Spirit and Edmonton Internazionale play out a tense, tight TECK Gold Medal Match at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan, ON.
The first good chance was crafted in the 26th minute by Samantha Hayes on Kitchener's left wing. She fed a cross into the six yard box which was met first-time by McKenna Rice. The shot was on target, but Bianca Castillo in the Edmonton net watched it all the way and made a great save.
Salma Kamel had been a danger the entire half for Inter, looking to stretch the defence with her play wide on the left. In the 33rd minute her trickery won a penalty for her team and co-captain Erin Vandolder stepped up to take the spot kick. Vandolder struck the penalty well, but Morgan Berg did terrifically to dive across low to her left to make the save and keep the scores tied going in at half-time.
Edmonton came out on the front foot after the break and looked certain to score when Christina Bruni fed Rebecca Stienwand inside her fullback in the 43rd minute. Berg came out a long way, but made a strong claim at the feet of the Albertan attacker.
The breakthrough came in the 57th minute. Izabella Ponciano delivered a free kick into the Ontarian penalty area from near the halfway on the right touchline. The ball landed and wasn't fully cleared, bouncing around and rolling it's way across the six-yard line. Sophie Robertson reacted first and lunged to scruffily stuff it home.
Kitchener grew into the game a lot more after that, and Edmonton seemed happy to let them have possession. Despite having more control of the ball, the Spirit were unable to break down an organized and hard-working defence. Co-captain Ponciano was a calming presence as the tension racked up, and Edmonton Internazionale held on to win the game 1-0 and claim the gold medal.
When asked about his team's success a jubilant head coach Diogo Raposo was nearly lost for words.
“We've only been together one year,” he revealed. “We did everything as a team, and a trip to San Diego really brought the girls together. I've never had a group this tight off-field.”
Rapaso also praised his team's work ethic. “They wanted to play. They trust one another and know everyone matters. It's a really amazing group”
October 8 - ON – Kitchener Spirit 2:0 NS - Halifax County United
An evenly matched first 20 minutes saw chances from either half with much more threats coming from the Kitchener Spirit’s ability to cut through the defensive line. The Spirit’s best first chance came from Christine Sullivan who glided horizontally across the face of goal and shot right into keeper Katelyn Fines' arms. Their hard working pressure came together in the 29th minute with a lovely team build up. Samantha Hayes received a pass off the wing, deaked the keeper in the box and converted a low strike to make it 1-0. The story of the first half was a contest on the wing - which side could create the most danger and which side could retain possession in the moments where it mattered. The score line stood until the interval but once the second started, momentum from the first carried over without fail. Four minutes into the second half, Kitchener Jurney Lajos ran down the middle and lobbed a ball to the top of the net. Luckily for United, it went over by an inch. The competitive equal ground by each club continued late into the second with much of the battle happening in the midfield. By the 61st minute Kitchener had broken the dead lock once again, this time coming from the boot of Gabrielle Zepeda-Ayala. Zepeda-Ayala drove the ball down the middle all with a man on her back, turned and looked to shoot but keeper Fines dove in to catch the ball. In a second, she chipped the ball over her opponent, fell to the ground and watched as the ball bounced over the line to secure a 2-0 score line. United worked diligently to keep the ball throughout the second half but never created enough to find themselves in the driver’s seat. Their effects against an attacking-minded Kitchener allowed them to challenge their opponents on a number of occasions, but credit goes to keeper Morgan Berg for handling all threats with ease. In the end, Kitchener emerged the victor in a match that was closely contested and secured their place in the Gold Medal game on Monday.
October 7 - Kitchener Spirit (ON) 4:1 Fredericton DSA (NB)
Up next was a competitive affair between Kitchener Spirit of Ontario and Fredericton DSA, representing New Brunswick. The Ontario side continued the day's trend of early goals, taking an 8th minute lead through Samantha Hayes. Kitchener would double their tally in the 24th minute via Hayes' second of the afternoon, beating the Fredericton keeper with a right-footer from inside the area. But Fredericton would pull one back before half-time. Silvia Fullarton pressured the Kitchener keeper, getting just enough on her clearance attempt to block it, rebounding the ball into the net. Come the second half, Kitchener turned on the gas, added two more goals, fifteen minutes apart, to complete the scoring. Christine Sullivan tallied both, placing a tight-angled shot from the right, inside the far-post in the 60th minute and then with a shot from distance in the 71st. With the victory, Kitchener continues their winning ways, racking up a third-straight to start the competition. The loss was Fredericton second of the tournament in as many games.
October 6 - Kitchener Spirit (ON) 4:0 FC Northwest (MB)
Alexandra Bruder, Samantha Hayes, Leanna Iezzi, and Jasmine Lambert scored in a 4:0 win for Kitchener Spirit, with the first three goals scored inside 31 minutes. The first goal came in the 12th minute after a free kick from the left was nodded over the defensive line. Alexandra Bruder was on hand to smartly volley the ball into the roof of the net. The second goal was scored in the 25th minute under similar circumstances. A corner from the right wasn't fully cleared and found its way to the feet of Samantha Hayes who prodded home the loose ball for her fourth marker of the tournament. Kitchener made it 3-0 in the 31st minute with a goal that was almost the mirror image of the second. This time the corner was from the left flank and Leanna Iezzi was on hand to poke home. The second half was a tighter affair but Jasmine Lambert made sure of the result with the final kick of the match. Released down the left channel she outpaced the tired backline and finished into the right side of the net with aplomb.
October 5 - Kitchener Spirit (ON) 3 vs. 0 St. John's SC (NL)
Kitchener Spirit scored just before the half and immediately following to grab control of their match against St. John’s SC. They opened the scoring in the 34th minute when Gabrielle Sica sent a long free kick over to the left side of the field from the right touchline. The ball beat the offside trap, and Samantha Hayes was able to finish with a volley after one bounce. Kitchener extended their lead five minutes into the second half when Hayes receiving the ball in the penalty area with her back to goal. She twisted and turned to make the space before coolly slotting into the bottom left corner. St. John's posed a goal threat of their own throughout the game, largely through the pace of Holly O'Neill, and forcing Kitchener to be sharp to keep their clean sheet. Hayes completed her hat-trick in the 60th minute, just beating out the St. John's goalkeeper Doyle Taylor to a through ball, making it 3-0. That was all they needed and Kitchener closed out the game to win 3-0.