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DODDS-E soccer - Day 3

DII finals will be an all-Italy affair

Mannheim's Brandon Wiley, center, watches his ball get past the Marymount goalie on its way into the net. Wiley scored both goals in Mannheim's 5-2 loss against Marymount in a boys Division II semifinal on Friday.

MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES

By RUSTY BRYAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 20, 2011

REICHENBACH-STEEGEN, Germany — If school officials are serious about reducing expenses, the results of Friday’s semifinals should encourage consider playing the European Division II soccer tournament south of the Alps.

All four of the teams that qualified for Saturday’s boys and girls D-II title games at Ramstein high school by winning Friday are Italy-based. Vicenza and defending champion Naples are to play in the 11:45 a.m. girls title showdown, and the 2011 D-II boys title is to be decided in a 1:30 rematch of the 2010 final when defending champion American Overseas School of Rome takes on Marymount International School of Rome.

Moreover, those four are the survivors of a final eight that included five Italy-based teams. The Naples girls ended sixth-seeded Bitburg’s Cinderella run through this tournament with a 4-2 overtime victory, and the Vicenza Lady Cougars came back from a 2-0 hole against No. 2-seeded AFNORTH to win 3-2 on Brandy Somera’s game-winning goal in the final two minutes of play.

AOSR’s boys downed Milan 5-0, and Marymount closed the book on Mannheim 5-2.

Naples girls 4, Bitburg 2 (OT): Alexandra Mack scored two overtime goals to close out the game for the Lady Wildcats after Bitburg tied the game at 2 on Bianca Reuters’ second goal of the game to send it into overtime.

Mack had twisted her knee on a corner kick with six minutes left in regulation, but just three minutes into OT, Katie Waller’s cross found Mack unmarked at the far post. Mack redirected the pass into the net for the go-ahead score, then unleashed an individual move for her third score of the game nine minutes later.

“It’s a little sore,” said Mack of her knee as she shed tears of joy over her team’s victory. “It clamped up when I took the kick.”

Mack scored her regulation-time goal on a free kick from the top of the box that sailed just under the crossbar and gave the defending champs a 2-1 lead early in the second half. She showed no ill effects from her knee injury on goal No. 3, which she scored after working her way past two defenders, moving into the box and rifling home a shot.

Mack’s tears were a combination of joy, relief, pain and determination.

“We really wanted to be in the championship game,” she said.

Vicenza girls 3, AFNORTH 2: Alex Frank scored two second-half goals, and Samera capped the comeback with her game-winner as the Lady Cougars, who tied Naples 2-2 during the regular-season, earned a chance to decide matters with the Lady Wildcats. Vicenza, which finished third in the American Schools in Italy League, is making a run similar to the one it made in basketball on the way to a DII title. 

Division III

In later action, the Sigonella boys shut out defending champion Ankara, 3-0, to advance to Saturday’s finals. They’ll meet Brussels - a 3-2 victor over Alconbury in overtime - at 10 a.m. at Ramstein High. Ankara and Alconbury play for third.

The DIII girls final pairings won’t be decided until Saturday morning, with three of the six teams still alive. Two of them, Brussels (3-0-1 in the tourney) and Sigonella (3-1) play each other at 8:30 a.m. Rota, the other contender at 3-1, takes on Ankara at 8:15 a.m. The two teams with the best records play at 3:15 p.m. for the title.

Vicenza's Tracie Robinson, right, heads the ball down the line past AFNORTH's Victoria Vantine in a Division II girls semifinal on Friday. Vicenza erased a 0-2 deficit to win the game 3-2 and advance to Saturday's final against Naples.
MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES