Soccer the Brazilian Way

VSA Heat 96-G, 2011 Virginia State Cup Champions

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Va. State Cup: VSA Heat 96G, PWSI Courage 96 Red book finals tickets in U-15 Girls bracket with narrow wins5 Nov, 2011

By Jimmy Laroue


Midlothian, Va. - After playing to a scoreless 80 minutes and exchanging goals in overtime, VSA Heat 96G defeated FASA Elite Impact 96 in penalties to take a 2-1 win and advance to the Under-15 Girls Virginia State Cup finals, where it will face PWSI Courage 96 Red, 2-0 winners over Beach FC U15G Red in a busy day of thrilling semifinals at SportsQuest in Midlothian.
Neither VSA Heat nor FASA Elite Impact could break through in regulation, with FASA holding firm defensively while VSA Heat retained the majority of possession.
“We talked about that, because they play all compact in the back and just play [for] the counterattack,” said VSA Heat coach Gus Donolo. “We have possession and possessed, but if you don’t find the net, that’s what happens. Soccer, you’ve got to find the net early, or else the game gets complicated, and at the end we could have lost.”
However, Becca Callison got the first goal of the match early in the first half of overtime, trapping a ball at the top of the box and putting her shot past the FASA goalkeeper to give VSA Heat a 1-0 lead.
FASA pressed for an equalizer, however, and got it less than a minute before the end of overtime from Shannon Wratchford.The forward scored on a 16-yard shot, sneaking it through a maze of players before it was deflected, but not stopped, by the Heat goalkeeper.
But the FASA squad, playing with a field player in goal after their starting goalkeeper went down earlier in the season with an ACL knee injury, was not able to net any of their penalties, while VSA Heat converted theirs for the win.
“We were lucky we won on PKs, but it was unnecessary to get all the way there, having possession for so long,” Donolo said. “But possession has to be with a purpose.”;
VSA Heat 96G will face PWSI Courage 96 Red, 2-0 winners against Beach FC U15G Red in the finals this afternoon.
The semifinal round was pushed back by a week due to inclement weather in Virginia Beach, the original site of the semifinal State Cup round. Instead, with SAT testing going on and potential weather issues in mind, the semifinals and finals of the State Cup were moved to the artificial turf fields of the sprawling SportsQuest campus.
Va. State Cup: Foxhall's PK heroics help VSA Heat 96G win U-15 Girls championship 6 Nov, 2011


By Jimmy LaRoue

Midlothian, Va. – VSA Heat 96G coach Gus Donolo said he has never seen a better goalkeeper at defending penalties than Zoe Foxhall.
With her team’s Virginia Under-15 Girls State Cup final against PWSI Courage 96 Red tied 3-3 after regulation and overtime on Sunday, Foxhall’s skill paid off. She made two saves, on Courage’s first and last attempts, and with Heat converting on all four of their attempts, those stops secured the title with a 4-3 shootout win.
VSA Heat 96G have now qualified for the 2012 Region I U.S. Youth Soccer Region I Championships in Hershey, Penn. next June.
“I have had a lot of 'keepers that I’ve gone through since I started coaching 12 years ago,” Donolo said. “And she just has a magnet to the ball against the players that take the PK. She always goes to the correct side. Half of it is guessing, but she also is trained very well to look at the girls’ hips when they shoot and how they position their body…She always looks them in the eye.”;
Kelli Burney, Kristin Schnurr, Becca Callison and Sarah Strachan converted Heat’s penalties. It’s the second State Cup title for Heat 96G, who led 2-0 with just a few minutes left in regulation. However, Skylar Dowell scored twice for Courage to force overtime.
The Heat scored first early in overtime before Courage rallied once more in the latter stages, scoring on a penalty-kick conversion from Sara Deutsch to force penalties.
Donolo said the players were well prepared despite being forced to penalties in Saturday’s semifinal win over FASA Elite Impact. The team stayed in nearby Richmond overnight, ate well Saturday night, then woke up early for breakfast, had an hour of tactical meetings and then spent another 40 minutes watching video and talking more tactics before taking the field.
“We really treat this team like a professional team,” Donolo said.
With their place in the Region I tournament secure, the Heat are able to focus on tactics rather than trying to play their way into the field.
“Although every team plays to win, now we can play a little more relaxed knowing that we’re already going to regionals,” Donolo said.

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