The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team squeaked out a 1-0 victory over the U-16 Girls’ National Team this morning at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., behind a early second half goal by Courtney Lewis. The U-16s fought back and had two shots cleared off the line by U –17 defender Kristina Larsen in the final 10 minutes of the match, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Both teams will finish up their weeklong training camps on Friday (March 12) as the U-17s take on Germany U-17 and the U-16s face Canada U-17.
During the first half, the U-16s didn’t hesitate to attack the older U-17s right from the opening whistle. U-16 midfielder Ali Hawkins was able to win a number of head balls in the middle of the field and helped create dangerous attacks down the flanks for crosses into the penalty area. Despite getting the ball into the box, the U-16s only forced U-17 ‘keeper Meagan McCray into one save.
The U-17s had a few more chances during the first 40 minutes of the 80-minute match, but ‘keeper Alyssa Naeher was able to come up with a couple nice saves to keep it even.
The U-17s came out energized in the second half and got the eventual game winner just under two minutes after the break. Lewis sprinted from her midfield position and received a long ball from the backline. As Naeher raced out to cut off the midfielder’s angle, Lewis lightly chipped the ball over the ‘keeper’s outstretched hands and just under the crossbar.
After taking the lead, the U-17s controlled the next 20 minutes as their defense closed down the U-16’s attacks and the teams mainly traded possession. The U-16s didn’t give up though and in the final 10 minutes had two chances cleared off the line. The first opportunity came in the 71st minute off a corner kick, when Lauren Switzer’s header lofted towards goal. Hannah Cerrone challenged McCray for the ball in the air, not letting the ‘keeper grab it and as it bounced Cerrone tried to punch it on goal, but it was cleared off the line by Larsen.
Two minutes later, with the entire U-16 bench standing and cheering on their teammates, Switzer found space just inside the penalty area and ripped a low shot that beat McCray, but Larsen was there again to keep the ball out of the net.
In the waning minutes, the U-17s got a taste of their own medicine as Marihelen Tomer chased down a through ball and collided with Naeher as she came out to snag it off her foot. Both players tumbled to the ground, but Tomer was able to get up, find the ball and put a shot on the open net, but Switzer was able to race back and knock it away.
Participants: U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team vs. U.S. Under-16 WNT
Location: IMG Academy; Bradenton, Fla.
Date: March 11, 2004
Weather: Warm, 70 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1st 2nd Final
U-17 0 1 1
U-16 0 0 0
U-17 – Courtney Lewis 41st minute
U-17: 18-Meagan McCray; 16-Ashley Nick, 15-Caroline Walden, 4-Kasey Moore, 21-Stefani Rocco (6-Tobin Heath, 41); 7-Brittany Bock (3-Amanda Lebo, 72), 17-Kylee Rossi (10-Kristina Larsen, 60), 9-Elisabeth Redmond (11-Marihelen Tomer, 60); 8-Kiara Bosio (5-Courtney Lewis, 41), 19-Kelly Quinn (22-Ashley Myers, 41), 2-Cydne Currie.
U-16: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 3-Onnie Trusty, 19-Hannah Cerrone, 8-Kiara Bosio, 23-Lauren Wilmoth; 10-Ali Hawkins, 13-Carolyn Blank (16-C.J. Ludemann), 6-Melissa Hayes; 12-Jessica McDonald, 2-Nikki Washington (4-Olivia West, 55), 14-Casey Noguiera.
Statistical Summary: U-17 U-16
Shots 7 4
Saves 3 4
Corner Kick 4 2
Fouls 10 8
Offside 2 0
U-16 – Melissa Hayes (caution) 34th minute
U-16 – C.J. Ludemann (caution) 78th