WPSL Assoc. Commissioner Joe Ferrara (R) presents Fury captain Kelly Henderson with the 2009 WPSL Championship trophyGARDEN CITY, NY (08/02/09) -
The 2009 Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL)
championship match at Adelphi University's Competition Field today featured an intriguing match-up between the youthful exuberance of the Long Island Fury (14-0-1) and the experience of California's Ajax America (15-2-1). Long Island were led by long-time players like 20-year-old captain Kelly Henderson
of Baldwin, and the defending national champions were made up of graduates from the top college soccer programs in the U.S. - and players from the Los Angeles Sol of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS).
But it would be East Williston's Molly Bruh
who would come through for the host side, whose 21-yard direct kick in the 74th minute hit the upper left corner of the net for the eventual game-winning goal in the 1-0 victory for the Fury in the 2009 WPSL National Championship match. Long Island received the free kick when the Fury's Alaina Beyar
was tripped while dribbling outside the Ajax penalty area.
When the Fury won the WPSL national championship as an first-year franchise in 2006, former standout Rebecca Moros scored the winning goal. The hosts needed another hero as Moros and four other alumnae currently play in WPS and the question was "who would step up for the Fury"? It would be the 18-year-old Bruh, who has been coached by Fury Head Coach Paul Riley since she was a four-year-old.
"I just knew that if we were able to score a goal, we would win," said Riley. "Our defense was amazing. Alyssa Pember
and Tara Mendoza
were terrific. Young Margo McGinty
played as if she was 10 years older."
Ajax certainly knew that they were in for a tight match in the 27th minute when DiMartino crossed the ball to Bay Shore's Jasmyne Spencer
, whose 10-yard shot was stuffed by Ajax goalkeeper Brittany Cameron
. Ajax had a good opportunity in the 40th minute but Lyndsey Patterson
's dribble got away from her on the slick Field Turf surface and wound up in the welcoming arms of Fury keeper Jillian Mastroianni
In first-half stoppage time, Cameron made a point-blank save on a DiMartino strike and Spencer's rebound struck the leg of a Ajax defender and dribbled harmlessly over the goal line. A scoreless match at half-time as the heavy rain subsided and turned into sunshine. It would shine on the team from the Empire State rather than the squad from sunny California in the second half.
The last few minutes and two minutes of stoppage time featured every player from California in an attack mode with keeper Cameron positioned near the halfway line but the Fury defense only allowed long shots from outside the penalty area. Each keeper had five saves as the Fury won their second WPSL National Championship by a 1-0 score.
The phrase that "defense wins championships" proved true again as the Fury shut out all five playoff opponents in 2009 and did not surrender a goal for the last 514 minutes of play. With seven blocked shots and aggressive defending throughout both games, Tara Mendoza
of Valley Stream was named the 2009 Final Four MVP.
Six Fury players won the national championship in both 2006 and 2009: Henderson, Pember, Spencer, Alaina Beyar, Kelly Farrell and Cody Newman. The major difference between the 2006 and 2009 titles is that the Fury won all five playoff games on the road three years ago and was home for all five playoff games in 2009 in front of their enthusiastic fans.ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM:
GK Brittany Cameron (AJAX); D Alyssa Pember (LONG ISLAND), D Tara Mendoza (LONG ISLAND), D Andrea Alfiler (AJAX), D Diedre Bass (MIAMI); M Kelly Henderson (LONG ISLAND), M Sabrina Demonte (AJAX), M Rochelle Willis (MIAMI), M Ryan Lee (DALLAS); F Lyndsey Patterson (AJAX), F Kendall Juett (DALLAS).About the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL):
The WPSL is a 50-plus team national women's soccer league with five conferences and is considered one of the top amateur women's soccer leagues in the world. You can now also keep up with our league on our social networking sites on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com) and LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com)!
The Long Island Fury have been selected to host the 2009 WPSL Final Four
which will be held at Adelphi University on August 1-2 (Garden City, NY) - alongside the Youth Premier Soccer League (YPSL) National Championship the same weekend. National Semifinal matches will be played at 5:00 & 7:30 p.m. on Sat., August 1st, while the WPSL National Final is set for a 2:30 p.m. kick-off on Sun., August 2nd. Check back to the official WPSL website in the coming days for all the info on the Final Four!The WPSL's mission is to provide the highest level of women's soccer while simultaneously providing affordable, quality family entertainment and positive role models for our youth. For more information, visit our official website at http://www.wpsl.info, phone us at 1-800-854-0913 or contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.