Delaware’s State Cup winners returned to the pitch last weekend to battle fellow state champions (and the heat) for the regional title and a chance to play for the national championship.
While clubs from all across Delaware came within a goal of advancing to the regional semifinals, all were forced to wait until next year for another shot at the regional championship.
“They all put in so much time together and worked so hard to get to this point,” said Coach Peter Hulem, who finished his first year as manager of the Girls U-15 CDSA Riptide.
The Riptide, who are the State Cup holders for three years running, had their best ever showing at regionals, according to Coach Hulem.
With the majority of the club forming back in the U-9 division, many of the players grew close over the years.
“Being on the travel team has changed my life,” said Cassidy Ramsey, who plays full back for CDSA and attends Caesar Rodney. “We really wanted to go out there and show Delaware has something to offer.”
Not only did the players have to worry about defending and getting forward, the heat was as big an opponent as the other team.
Allison Hollinger, a center full back for CDSA, said the temperatures definitely played a factor in the outcome of the games.
“We could’ve worked better on conditioning,” Hollinger said. “A lot of us got tired quickly since it was over 100 degrees.”
For the Girls U-19 Hockessin Select, it was a case of one match being the difference. The Select club won two of their three games, but lost to Penn Fusion, who did not concede a goal in winning the group.
The coaching duo of Michael Alvanitakis and Deb McCauley, who have been coaching together for 11 years, could not have been more proud of the effort their players displayed at the regional championships.
“Coach McCauley and I have always tried to impress upon the girls that, in the end, it is only a game,” Alvanitakis said. “They will be successful and being a member of the Hockessin Academy team will have played a small part in their successes in life.”
The feeling of family and off-the-field success clearly translated from coaches to players with the Select squad, who have played together for nearly ten years.
“The best way to describe the closeness of the team is family,” said Select striker Allyson Zerhusen. “If we aren’t doing it for ourselves, then we’re doing it for the girl standing next to us – for each other.”
On the boys’ side of the competition, Coach Andy Vanover led his two Hockessin clubs within a game of a semifinal berth.
Page 2 of 2 - The U-16 HSC Arsenal’s only loss of the tournament came against Maryland’s OBGC Rangers, who took the semifinal spot with the win.
In the Boys U-17 side, the Hockessin Heat were held to a scoreless draw in their final match against Frederick, who only needed a tie to advance to the next round.
“We have a mindset of more than just the State Cup,” said Vanover. “We definitely are making progress and looking forward to the future.”