IWAKUNI MARINE CORPS AIR STATION, Japan — Gina Bosworth missed her chance to put away the match on a penalty kick in overtime. She didn’t make the same mistake in the penalty-kick shootout.
Bosworth helped Osan American repeat as Far East Girls Class A soccer champion as the Cougars edged Robert D. Edgren of Japan 3-2 in Friday’s tournament final at rainy, muddy Penny Lake field. It was the second time in two days Osan needed a shootout to nip the Eagles.
“I’m very happy,” coach Sung Plourde said after his team won this tournament for the fourth time since its inception in 2002. The only year Osan didn’t win was in 2004, when Faith Academy took the crown.
Like last year’s 1-0 victory over Pusan American, Friday’s game wasn’t easy. As it proved in Thursday’s 2-1 loss to Osan, Edgren was a formidable opponent.
So were the conditions. Low-lying Penny Lake Field still was drenched and muddy from Wednesday’s day-long deluge and more rain fell during the title game.
“It’s hard to play in 70 percent water and 30 percent mud,” Plourde said. “It’s tough on both sides. We’ve not played in rain like this. We almost had to relearn the game. It came down to which team survived the conditions.”
Said Edgren coach Larry Allen: “The girls had to play with less skill and more heart.”
Regulation time was a battle between Bosworth and Edgren freshman Alyssa Rodrigues. Each scored two goals, one in each half, to create a second straight overtime standoff.
“Edgren’s defenders were tough,” Plourde said. “They would stop us so many times but sometimes we would create opportunities and knock them in.”
“We did an outstanding job on defense,” Allen said of a team that rode the strength of fullbacks Amy Heimer, Loren Doerr, Jennifer Stryd and Brandi Pendleton into the tournament.
Edgren sophomore goalkeeper Lissi Johnson kept the Eagles’ hopes alive by stopping Bosworth’s game-winning penalty-kick attempt.
Bosworth made good on her attempt in the shootout, as did teammate Casey Corrigan. Only Mia Angelella was able to reply for Edgren.
“Had it been a dry day, it might have been different,” Plourde said. “I just told the kids to give it everything they had and they did.”
“We’re pleased,” Allen said, despite coming up just short with a squad comprised primarily of sophomores and freshmen with just one senior. “It was a great tournament. We’re a young team” but “we’re progressing. It was a fun week.”