By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
What a ride it was for the Westside Breakers 01 Blue soccer team this season. Coached by Chris Lofgren, the squad took second place in the 16-and-under girls division at last week’s 2017 U.S. Youth Soccer National Presidents Cup at Lake Myrtle Sports Park in Auburndale, Florida.
Having advanced to the Final Four by bouncing back from an early loss at the CalSouth State Cup and Region IV Presidents Cup in Salt Lake City in June, the Breakers suffered a 3-2 loss in their first game last Thursday against FC Dallas TRI 01 from Tennessee despite goals by Angelica Taylor in the eighth minute and Yaire Arzate in the 73rd minute. They rebounded Friday to edge BAC Blitz of Virginia 1-0 thanks to Olivia Venit’s header off a cross from Eliza Corbett in the 58th minute. On Saturday, the Breakers won their third game against CWSC 01 Academy Elite of Ohio 1-0 on Taylor’s penalty kick in the final minute, earning a spot in Sunday’s final versus BAC Blitz.
Stellar goalkeeping by Kennedy Todd kept the rematch scoreless until a foul in the box allowed Blitz to take a 1-0 lead on a penalty kick in the 60th minute. The Breakers applied pressure until the last whistle but were unable to net the equalizer.
The 19-player roster consisted of four Palisadians: defenders Kylie Greenwald and Sarah Kangaslahti and midfielders Katie Rautbort and Naomi Shacham. Greenwald and Rautbort attend Palisades High along with midfielder Ariella McNulty and defender Bella Mahl (who plays on the Dolphins’ junior varsity team). Shacham was named to the All-Tournament team while Taylor tied for third in scoring in the 16U division.
Rounding out the Breakers’ team were Sadie Gerber, Noa Yamashiro, Olivia Joslin, Julia Erlanger, Angela Bradbury, Sydney Raphael, Natalie Phillips and Jacqueline Chavez.
Perhaps Lofgren summed up the local club squad’s cross-country journey best: “It was an incredible experience.”
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