June 27, 2012
REGION II CHAMPIONSHIPS
Boys finals recaps
SAGINAW, Mich.---In the U-14 Boys final, late drama lifted Vardar 98 (MI) over Sporting Kansas City Juniors (MO), 4-1. With the scored tied at one after regulation, Vardar exploded for three goals in overtime highlighted by a Nick Metcalfe double.
U-15 CUP Crew Jrs Gold (OH-S) did not concede a single goal in the regional championships and netted two on finals day to claim a victory over fellow National League team Chicago Magic (IL). Led by Luke Treadway who scored his fifth goal in as many games this week, CUP Crew also notched goals by David Jeffries and Charlie Byers for the 3-0 win.
As both regional finalist teams in this age group had already qualified for the national championships via the National League, semifinalists Challenger Crew Jrs (OH-N) and Grand Rapids Crew Jrs (MI) met to determine a regional representative in South Carolina. Challenger Crew got the victory and the berth in the national championships.
Motivated to return to the national championships after coming so close to a title in 2011, Michigan Jaguars 96 Green (MI) took the next step along their journey with a 2-0 win over Ambassadors (OH-N) in the U-16 Boys final. Michael Winters started the scoring for the Jags in just the 5th minute, and Nathan McLean nodded home a long throw just seconds before the halftime whistle to give his team a 2-0 lead at intermission. That lead would hold through the next 40 and the Jaguars recorded their fifth shutout of the week in five games to return to the national championships.
Raiders FC Premier will return to the National Championships in 2012 as they beat Waukesha Pumas (WI) 2-0 in the U-17 Boys regional final. Roberto Torres nodded home as impressive goal as he rose above the defense in the 31st minute to get on the end of a Brandon Medina cross. Connor Nitchoff would add the insurance goal for Raiders in the first minute of the second half.
Another year, another regional title for U-18 Boys Grand Rapids Crew Jrs (MI), as they beat Galaxy 93/94 Blue (IL) 4-2 in an exciting match. After taking a 1-0 lead into halftime, Matthew Harkema scored back-to-back goals in the 67th and 70th minutes to extend the Grand Rapids lead. Galaxy made things interesting as they scored two quick goals of their own in the 80 and 81st minutes. With Galaxy committing numbers forward for a late equalizer, Grand Rapids executed a beautiful counter attack and Sean Conerty scored in the 90th minute to put Grand Rapids out of reach.
U-19 Boys champions Crew Juniors (OH-S) scored 29 goals en route to the regional title, and netted three on finals day as they beat Pacesetter Premier (OH-N) 3-1. Pacesetter fell just short of a national championship berth with a loss in the regional final for the second straight year. Kofi Agyapong opened the scoring for Crew in the 14th minute and Matthew Walker and Jordan Tyler added second half goals to seal the victory.