PHOENIX—After two grueling days of bracket play, five teams from Washington Youth Soccer EPD competed in the semifinals of the ODP West Championships on Sunday. A handful of teams also continued bracket play, while the rest played their consolation games to finish off the weekend. Only three teams progressed to the finals, but every semifinal provided entertaining, thrilling soccer, and all made Washington proud no matter the result.
The morning started off with an absolute cracker of a matchup between Girls 03 WA and Cal South, and despite a couple of excellent goals they were unable to complete the comeback and fell 3-2 in the end. The Girls 05 WA squad fared better in their match against Cal North, dominating from start to finish in their 2-0 win that earned them the first WYS trip to the finals.
Girls 05 WA head coach Lindsey Patterson praised her team’s effort and result against such a solid opponent. “It was exciting, it was a really good battle. Cal North was super technical, really good on the ball, they caused a lot of problems for us. So the fact that the team could defend together and have a good mentality of wanting to win their individual battles and win together, I thought every single player did really well today and it showed. We’re super proud of the win for sure, and to be in the finals.” Patterson’s team takes on Cal South in their final on Monday at 9:45 AM CT.
The next semifinal was hard-fought and epic as the Boys 04 WA team battled with Utah in a match with only the thinnest of margins for error. After coming close a number of times, the boys finally came up with a goal off a corner kick to secure a 1-0 win and their own spot in the finals. Coach Cory Keitz was pleased with his team’s hard work and, “I thought we were awesome today, I thought we were really good from front to back. I thought everybody contributed really well, even the guys that came in off the bench. We created lots and lots of chances, and finally we took one right at the end and we closed the game off to win it and we’re stoked to be in the final.” They’ll face PNW rivals Oregon at 10:45 AM CT on Monday morning.
One of the most entertaining and exciting EPD squads in Phoenix saw their tournament end in heartbreak despite a stirring and impressive comeback attempt. After going down two goals, James Riley’s Boys 03 WA team pulled one back in the second half via a delightful volley following a strong throw-in routine. They pushed hard for another goal, but the boys simply ran out of time. After winning all three bracket matches in style, Boys 03 WA represented themselves, their teams, and our state extremely well all weekend.
Our state’s last semifinalists took things to an entirely new level, however. After winning their final bracket game on Sunday morning against Northern Nevada, Boys 08 WA were handed an evening semifinal against Colorado. They dominated the match from start to finish, routing their opponents 6-0 and scoring a handful of truly phenomenal goals. The squad will hope to continue that trend in their final on Monday at 10:00 AM CT against Arizona.
Even though only some of our teams made it to Monday, we’re still proud of every single WA and EWA EPD player who represented our wonderful state this weekend. Let’s all cheer on the teams that made the finals and look forward to next year’s tournament!