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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – In a defensive gem pitting the titans of DODDS Europe girls’ soccer, Patch shut out defending champion Ramstein, 1-0, to reclaim the Division 1 girls’ soccer title Thursday.

The game was a rematch of last year’s championship, which Ramstein won, 2-1.

This time, despite their No. 1 tournament seeding and a win over Patch in April, the Royals saw their undefeated season come to a heartbreaking end.

“We gave it everything we had,” said Ramstein senior midfielder Chantelle DuBois. “It sucks being on the other side of it; last year, they were on the other side of it. I’m proud to have lost to a team that worked their butts off as hard as we did.”

Patch’s lone score came with mere minutes left in the first half when defender Whitney Mannier made a short pass to midfielder Caroline Rivera, who drilled it into the cage from close range.

Rivera, a captain and one of four seniors on the team, was in tears after the game.

“This was the best way to leave for all the seniors, especially against Ramstein,” she said.

Ramstein threatened to score several times, stepping it up with some feisty play at the start of the second half, shrugging off the bone-chilling rain.

A long kick from junior midfielder Journey Legg landed on top of the Patch goal cage, just missing its intended target. On another possession, DuBois took the ball all the way up the left side of the field but a Patch defender stayed on her, and DuBois couldn’t get an open shot in front of the box; her kick hit the far outside corner of the net. A direct shot on goal by junior forward Shannon Guffey was saved by Patch’s goalkeeper Goldie Bougher, a freshman playing in her first European tournament.

Patch also missed scoring opportunities, including several corner kicks into the goal area that Ramstein defenders quickly booted away.

But the Panthers only needed the one goal.

“We, unfortunately, couldn’t put it (the ball) in the back of the net,” DuBois said.

Mannier, a sophomore, said the Panthers didn’t adjust their game for Ramstein.

“We were just trying to be a team and do what we usually do,” she said. “It was a very tough game. Ramstein is always a tough opponent.”

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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