Ajax's Shannon Cross (center) would finally find her way through the MYSC defense, netting the GWG in a 5-0 victoryNATOMAS, CA (08/02/08) -
Cinderella may very well have wore the powder blue of the Midwest champion MYSC Lady Blues (8-2) at one time, but in the second Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL
) National Semifinal at Natomas H.S., the glass slipper just did not want to fit. The first-year side held their own in the first half versus Pacific Conference champion Ajax America (13-3-1), but a second-half scoring deluge by the 2007 U.S. Open Cup champions would send the Midwest champs unceremoniously home by a 5-0 final score.QUICKTIME VIDEO (click on pic - to install the FREE software, click HERE):
Ajax Head Coach Brian Boswell
What was most impressive for Ajax was that the goals came from five different players. From a tough start to the 2008 season - combined with the loss of some star 2007 players due to injuries and player movement - the Pacific Conference side can now look forward to a WPSL Final berth on August 3rd, taking on the Big Sky Conference champion Arizona Rush at 7:00 p.m.
"In the first half, they did a good job and packed it in a little bit," said Ajax Head Coach Brian Boswell. "They showed us some respect and worked very, very hard. In the second half, we changed our tactics just a little and we were able to break them down. They're a good team. We just happened to put our goals away.QUICKTIME VIDEO (click on pic):
Ajax forward Shannon Cross
After a relatively even first half concerning scoring opportunities - where Ajax only out-shot MYSC by a 5-4 margin - former USC star & All-WPSL selection Shannon Cross continued her strong run of play as of late, netting her third consecutive game-winner for her side in the 50th minute.
"Its good we've made the final," said Cross. "We tied and lost in penalty kicks last year [in the National Semifinal], so its good for us. Its our third straight year in the Final Four and our first time in the final."
That goal most certainly made up for her missed double-chance to end the first half, as the Lady Blues were able to deploy their trademark defensive scheme to good effect. Yet, that formation didn't hold as Ajax was able to pick up the pace of play and manuever around and through MYSC in the second half - scoring goals from a variety of players and plays.
QUICKTIME VIDEO (click on pic): MYSC Head Coach Ben John
Cross was slotted through the Lady Blues defense, drove towards goal and finished professionally under the dive of All-Midwest goalkeeper Laurel Peak (8 saves). MYSC's Marcia Foltz almost leveled the match at 1-1 ten minutes later, but her shot went just wide of the dive of Ajax keeper Alli Lipsher (6 saves) - and the left post.
From there, it was all downhill for the Pacific champions, as University of Oregon's Sabrina Demonte broke in one-on-one with Peak and was able to dribble around her to score the second Ajax goal in the 60th minute. Former WUSA standout Andrea Alfiler was denied a goal with 17 minutes remaining, but re-compensated the next minute, firing home a shot after a failed corner kick clearance to make the 3-0 score.
Goals by April Colen and Stephanie Scholl would finish the scoring on the night. Now, Ajax will face the Arizona Rush in the 2008 WPSL National Final - who defeated 2007 WPSL National Finalist New England in a 2-1 thriller. Kick-off is slated for 7:00 p.m. Check back to www.wpsl.info for all the latest news and information.