Girls soccer preview: Heidelberg, Ramstein top contenders in Div. I
It’s a two-horse race in the Division I girls soccer tournament, scheduled for Thursday through Sunday at Ramstein, Germany.
Heidelberg comes in as the favorite, surrending one goal en route to a 7-0 record. But one of those wins was a 1-0 home victory over Ramstein on April 19.
It was the lone blemish on the Lady Royals’ season.
Heidelberg is powered by Rebeccah Drennan, who has scored 15 goals this season. She’ll get support from midfielder Michelle Thorne and fullback Megan Brousseau.
The Lady Lions’ defense is led by goalkeeper Shiena Bustamante, who has posted six shutouts. Megan Bruce and Megan Briggs lead the Lions’ defensive efforts.
Ramstein, which found a way to contain Drennan in the first matchup, fields 2002 All-Europe first-teamers midfielder Evie Callahan and goalkeeper Andra Vanderneck.
The Lady Royals beat Heidelberg for the D-1 crown in 2000.
The other five teams in the D-1 field enter the tournament with sub-.500 records.
For the first time in years, Patch doesn’t come into the Division II tournament as the heavy favorite.
The Lady Panthers (3-2-1) were riding a 48-game winning steak in the middle of the season before falling 2-1 to Vilseck on April 19. The four-time defending champs were tied by Bitburg the following week and closed out the regular season with a 3-1 loss to Hanau.
Vilseck, led by Jessica Linka and Megan Williams will bring a 4-0-1 record into the tournament, set for Thursday-Saturday at AFNORTH in Brunssum, Netherlands.
Hanau (4-1) and Black Forest Academy (4-1-1) also sport lofty records. AFNORTH comes in with a 3-3 record, but is the only team to knock off Hanau this year, and the tournament is on its home pitch.
SHAPE has a 3-4 record, but three of its four losses — including two in overtime — have been decided by one goal.
Bitburg, at 1-4-1, rounds out the field. Mannheim will not participate.
Naples and Aviano will be fighting for crown in the Division III tournament, which starts Friday in Baumholder, Germany.
Naples, the defending European champion, is led by Tracey Light, Alex Petrucci and Michelle Aguila.
But Aviano, built around Jessi Campfield, Jessica Tolliver, Alexa Wan and Christen McCullough, has won the past two meetings with Naples, including a victory in the 2003 Mediterranean title game last weekend.
Last year, it was Naples who swept the season “series” against their northern neighbors.
Division III-South champion Ansbach, entering the tournament with a 5-0 record, could stand in the way of an all-Italy final.
Ansbach is led by Keke and Jordan Johnson and goalkeeper April Derbak.