A true team effort from Boston earns them the 2010 National ChampionshipRICHARDSON, TX (08/01/10) -
The 2010 Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL)
National Final would pit two of the more experienced sides against one another - Pacific Conference champion Ajax America (9-4-1) & East Conference champion Boston Aztec Breakers Reserves (12-1-1). Both survived scares from two young & dynamic sides in the Semifinals, and once again on this day, had to also brave the unrelenting Texas heat.
The Breakers Reserves put the heat on Ajax in the first half and the teams switched roles in the second, but in the 83rd minute, it only took one bounce of the ball to decide the 2010 WPSL National Champion. Boston's Mandi Back put a shot on goal that Ajax goalkeeper Anna Picarelli touched to the crossbar and would caroom right to Becca Mays, who cooly finished to cement the 2-1 victory for the Breakers Reserves.
For the weekend, there was a full share of dynamic soccer on display despite the sun & heat but in the end, Boston were the most consistent out of the four teams. Speaking of consistency, such was the play of 2010 East Player Of The Year Leah Blayney over the two matches and for her efforts, she was named the 2010 WPSL Final Four MVP.
But even more than the play of their star midfielder, it was a true team effort from all involved with the Aztec team as they weathered storms from their opponents, made adjustments and found a way to persevere. Head Coach Mike Kersker and his staff had done their homework on & off the field.
"I think it was good for us to see Ajax play yesterday [in their Semifinal vs. Oklahoma]," said Kersker. "It gave us an opportunity to make a couple tactical adjustments. We did that and it really made a big difference for us. Again, its the resiliency of this team. We went up early, [Ajax] came back to score in the beginning of the second half and we said to ourselves, 'we gave them a goal' and now let's get one more and that's it. Every player on the field was phenomenal."Post-Final Mike Kersker Interview
The coach's opinion was cemented in the first half, when Boston came out of the gates as the stronger side and were attacking from all angles. In the 10th minute, Taleen Dimirdjian's hustle proved very beneficial as she chased down a ball at the top of the penalty area and got in a scramble with Ajax keeper Yiana Dimmitt.
The ball squirted loose and Becky Ryan drove the ball into the empty net for the 1-0 lead. Blayney & Ryan would combine together seven minutes later, but the shot from the Final Four MVP would go just wide. In the 21st minute, Mays would move deftly into the penalty area, shed a defender but her shot would rocket into the near post side netting.
Ajax picked up their play at the end of the first half, and would continue that strong surge into the second half. In the 49th minute, the combination of a acrobatic end-line run from Leah Gallegos and the Boston defense falling back off of her gave the former USC star a shot on goal, which she sent inside the far post for the 1-1 game.
"We've been in that position a couple of times this season," said Breakers Reserves captain Rebekah Splaine. "We know how to come back from a tied game or a deficit. One thing I know about our team, we never throw in the towel."Post-Final Rebekah Splaine Interview
From there, the pace of the match picked up exponentially. Boston's Chioma Igwe fired just wide of the far post in the 54th minute, while Ajax' Shannon Cross forced Breakers Reserves keeper Rebecca Ritchie into a double-save in the 58th minute.
Play would tighten up as the half wore on, with the physicality & will to win from both teams in evidence. A hard but clean slide tackle from Blayney would win the ball for her team in the Ajax half of the field, and from there, Back's shot and Mays' finish would give Boston their first-ever WPSL National Championship title.
For Splaine, it was a very appropriate end to a playing career that has seen her go from a collegiate All-American to a two-time champion with the now-defunct W-League Boston Renegades to the WUSA and now - a WPSL Championship.
"I got a little teary-eyed after the game," said Splaine. "This is my last year playing, so it was really nice to win a championship again... a National Championship to end my career is fantastic."ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM:
GK Rebecca Ritchie (BOSTON); D Katie Hishmeh (F.C. MILWAUKEE); D Dani Bosio (AJAX); D Minny Mercado (OKLAHOMA); D Rebekah Splaine (BOSTON); MF Dria Hampton (OKLAHOMA); MF Christie Shaner (AJAX); MF Leah Blayney (BOSTON); F Laurie Nosbusch (F.C. MILWAUKEE); F Leah Gallegos (AJAX); F Becca Mays (BOSTON).CONSOLATION MATCH:
F.C. Milwaukee (10-2-1) would go up by a 2-0 score on goals from Sarah Hagen (11th minute) and captain Laurie Nosbusch (57th minute), but Oklahoma Alliance F.C. (8-2-1) would come back to tie the match. Goals from Caitlin Mooney (78th minute) and Bailey Boulware (87th minute) would tie the match at 2-2 but at the end of regulation the match would end in a draw.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.
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. You can also keep up with our league on our social media networking sites on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter!!
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