Faith ends Daegu’s reign
May 23, 2008
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — Thanks to the scoring touch of sophomore striker Lauren Cleope and a stingy defense powered by senior sweeper Mary Shaw, Faith Academy ended the Daegu American girls’ reign as Far East Class A champion on Wednesday.
Cleope scored three goals, Terilyn Wassell added a solo goal, and Shaw helped keep Daegu’s offense at bay as the Philippines school blanked Daegu 4-0 to capture its second title in two visits to the tournament. The Vanguards won in 2004.
The verdict proved a bitter end to the Warriors’ run at a second title; Daegu beat Matthew C. Perry 2-1 in overtime last May for the championship.
"It would have been nice to do it again," Daegu coach Ed Thompson said.
He compared the Vanguards favorably to Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference champion Seoul American, which Daegu held to five goals in a pair of regular-season defeats, 2-0 and 3-0.
"They can pass it well enough to get through our defense," he said. "They [Faith] don’t finish quite as well [as Seoul American], they don’t have that hot put-away kick, but their midfielders are better. Triangle passes, precision soccer and good defense. They are quick."
In the early going, Daegu collapsed as many as six defenders in the box, denying Faith time and again.
Finally, in the 27th minute, Cleope took a through pass from Wassell and rammed it past Daegu keeper Shawn’Quinisha Simpson for the only goal the Vanguards would need. Wassell struck two minutes later, sending Janina Rubin’s cross high over Simpson in the top corner.
Daegu pressed in the second half, only to have Shaw’s big left kick deny the Warriors repeatedly. Nikki Calisto came closest to solving Faith’s defense, clanging a shot off the crossbar in the 49th minute.
Cleope iced it with two goals seven minutes apart, converting a Rubin through pass in the 69th, then lining a laser to the upper right of the net over Simpson in the 76th.
Faith coach Erin Fish had confessed to worrying about Daegu. The Warriors held the Vanguards to their lowest goal total in pool play, a 1-0 verdict on Wednesday, a game played in mud and muck from Tuesday rain.
"We wondered, did we get lucky in a muddy game or did we dominate?" Fish said. "The only thing we had to go on was, we played that entire game in the offensive end."
Cleope was named the tournament’s Offensive MVP, while Simpson was tabbed Outstanding Goalkeeper. That was partly for her work in Daegu’s 1-0 semifinal win earlier Wednesday over Osan American, in which the Warriors won a 4-3 penalty-kick shootout.
"That was almost more important than the championship," Thompson said. "That was big, but it would have been nice to get this one, too."
Edgren girls upset Zama for first win of season
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — In the books, it went as a mere 2-0 first-round playoff victory over Zama American. But for Robert D. Edgren’s girls, it rated right up there with winning the World Cup.
In four previous meetings this season, the Eagles were 0-3-1 against Zama and were outscored 12-1. The Trojans (16-2-1) won the DODDS-Japan league for the first time; the Eagles brought an 0-15-3 mark into this week’s Class AA tournament.
"This is a miracle," coach Sarah Richardson said after junior striker Alyssa Rodriguez netted the match’s only two goals in the second half.
"The girls are just beside themselves. After going 0-3-1 this season, then to come out and do that. The kids decided they wanted to come out and play. They played with heart. They played as a team. They communicated, they were motivated, they were on key today."
"It feels amazing," said Rodriguez, the 2006 Class A tournament MVP. "We’ve been losing so many times. To do this at Far East is pretty big, especially when nobody thought we would do well here."
Edgren’s joy was short-lived, however. Junior Jessica Osborne netted a hat trick as defending champion Kubasaki relegated the Eagles to the knockout round with an 8-0 quarterfinal shutout.
Guardians boys cap finest year with Class A title
Yongsan International-Seoul capped the finest boys’ competitive year in school history. Yusuke Kakinuma scored a hat trick and the Guardians captured the Class A title with a 5-0 shutout of Nagoya International.
"It’s a nice going-away," said YIS-Seoul athletic director Steve Epps, who coached the Guardians to a Class A basketball title in Daegu three months ago. He’s taking a job in Hawaii next school year. "It’s nice to walk away with two of these. Incredible."
The closest a DODDS boys team came to the title was Osan, which grabbed the third spot by rallying past Global Visions Christian 3-2 in overtime. Derek Becker scored his team-leading 27th goal of the season two minutes into the extra period.