BOSTON AZTEC BREAKERS RESERVES 2, F.C. MILWAUKEE 1
Blayney assists on first and nets the GWG (above) in National Semifinal win
RICHARDSON, TX (07/31/10) - It was a fast & furious start for the F.C. Milwaukee Nationals (10-2-0), but a pair of early missed scoring opportunities would doom the Midwest Conference champions in the first Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) National Semifinal at UT-Dallas. The Boston Aztec Breakers Reserves (11-1-1) eventually got their offense rolling from a familiar source - East Player Of The Year Leah Blayney - who assisted on the first goal and netted the game-winner in clinical fashion.
In the 81st minute, Chioma Igwe would dissect the Nationals midfield with an incisive run and fed Blayney nicely in her stride towards goal. Cutting to her left foot, the Australian international would place her shot across the body of F.C. Milwaukee goalkeeper Leslie Deebach and into the net.
With the win, Boston Aztec advances to the WPSL National Final which will be played tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. (CST) at UT-Dallas. In the second National Semifinal, Ajax America took on another young & athletic side in Oklahoma Alliance F.C., with the more experienced side weathering the heat in the air as well as the dynamic OAFC offense in a 2-0 win.
For Breakers Reserves Head Coach Mike Kersker, his entire team showed their class in the end against both their opponents - F.C. Milwaukee and the brutal Texas heat. With her team behind her, Blayney would than provide two moments of skill and poise in this victory.
"It just came down to a full team performance," said Kersker. "Utilizing everybody, playing different roles and that's all you can ask for. Leah has been special for us all year. It looks like she's down for five minutes... you don't see her but then all of the sudden, she surprises you and gets the game-winner at the end. She went ahead and put us on her back and got it done."
Mike Kersker Semifinal Interview
On the other bench, F.C. Milwaukee Head Coach Christian Lavers could only rue those missed scoring chances, and felt that the veteran Boston side showed the more steadier approach in taking the win.
"I thought the experience showed today with Boston," said Lavers. "We had three or four good chances early on, and we didn't take them. We talked about how important getting the first goal would be a big advantage in this heat, and having to chase the game. When they scored, we dropped our heads a little bit. That's experience and knowing the match is 90 minutes long, and maintaining that consistency."
Christian Lavers Semifinal Interview
Ten minutes in, U.S. U-23 international & Midwest Player Of The Year Sarah Hagen would get a 1 v. 1 opportunity against Breakers Reserves keeper Rebecca Ritchie. She beat Ritchie with her shot, but Boston captain Rebekah Splaine would recover admirably and clear the ball off the line. Nine minutes later, Nationals captain & All-Midwest selection Laurie Nosbusch would also get in on Ritchie, but this time she made the save.
That seemed to spark the Breakers Reserves and in the next minute, it took a great save from Deebach to deny a quality scoring chance from Rebecca Mays. In the 31st minute, Blayney would fire in a corner kick to the back post where Mandi Back just got her head on the ball. It popped in the air and she won the second header for the 1-0 lead.
As the second half commenced, the heat would take its toll on both teams, and the play became more sluggish. The defense of the Breakers Reserves - Splaine, Japanese international Yuka Miyazaki and Kelly Lawrence - would keep Hagen & the Nationals offense at bay.
When Igwe saw her chance, she cut through the opponent's midfield and Blayney would strike the telling blow. Nosbusch would get a goal back for her side, but it was too little, too late as the final whistle would sound after the corresponding kick-off.
"We talked about [Hagen], how could you not?," said Kersker. "She's been terrific for her team all year. But I felt that our captain Rebekah Splaine did such a fantastic job back there organizing us... and I really feel like she shut her down. Defensively, we did a great job today."
About the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL): The WPSL is a 50-plus team national league with five conferences starting in 2010 and is the largest women's soccer league in the world. The league is sanctioned by the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) as an affiliate of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). The WPSL's mission is to provide the highest level of soccer in our effort to: bring affordable & quality family entertainment to the community; display positive role models for our youth; while, being a stepping stone for aspiring professional & international-level players.
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