FC Sting Charge Explodes Onto the Regional Landscape- Reaching U12G Finals of FC Stars Cup!
Lancaster, MA- FC Sting Charge enjoyed a spectacular debut in its first regional tournament wearing the Orange and White by reaching the finals of the prestigious Stars Cup over Labor Day weekend.
The girls competed in the Premiership bracket which featured not only some of the top teams in Region 1 but the entire country. With a no semi-finals format, the finals would be determined solely by group play leaving the team with no margin for error and the task of reaching the finals that much more difficult.
SATURDAY GROUP PLAY:
Charge v. NEFC
The Charge opened up play against the NEFC Gunners considered one of MA’s top teams. The Charge wasted no time scoring their first goal of the season with Katey Samarro slashing through the NEFC defense in the opening minutes and hitting the back of the net with an emphatic left-footed strike. Though the Charge attack would generate several more scoring opportunities those did not translate into goals so it was up to the defense to make the single goal count. While NEFC controlled much of the run of play with excellent possession and composure, the Charge’s defense stepped up and the girls came away with a 1-0 victory.
Charge v. Albertson
After the opening match against NEFC the Charge knew that to compete and win at a tournament of this caliber they needed to play with greater intensity. Their mettle was soon to be tested by the mighty Albertson Fury, considered one of the top teams in the nation coming off its semi-final finish at the ultra competitive Eclipse Select tournament in mid-August and reflected in its #1 national ranking by National Soccer Rankings.
From the opening whistle the girls exploded out of the gate and quickly established control of the game. Rachel Sorkenn opened the scoring in the first half, breaking through the right side of the stingy Albertson defense to put the Charge up 1-0. Later in the first half, Katey Samarro scored a crucial second goal for the Charge, dribbling straight through the central zone of the Albertson defense before beating the keeper at point blank range. The goal seemed to deflate the spirit of Albertson with the Charge controlling much of the second half. It was arguably one of the great wins in this young team’s history and truly a team effort with inspiring midfield play provided by Hannah Cermack and the entire defense contributing to keeper Alison Sorkenn’s second shutout of the tournament. The two wins set the stage for the girls’ final group match against the FC Bucks Wildcats, PA East’s top team, with a trip to the finals riding on the outcome.
SUNDAY GROUP PLAY:
Charge v FC Bucks
The Charge headed into their final match needing to win or tie in order to move into the Championship finals. It was clear early on that the girls would not be satisfied with anything less than victory. Despite a ridiculously early 730AM kick off, from the outset the game was played at a very high tempo with each team having some turns in run of play but neither being able to find the back of the net. That was until Rachel Sorkenn opened up the scoring with a beautiful strike from inside the 18 to put the Charge in the lead 1-0. The insurance goal was provided off a free kick from Randi Smith as she launched a missile from 20+ yards out. The Charge with their third consecutive shutout earned a trip to the finals where they would face their in-state rivals, PDA O’Reilly.
Charge v PDA
In a testament to the strength of NJ Girls Youth soccer, the finals were an all Garden State affair pitting the two best teams in the State against one other yet again in a rematch of last year’s State Cup Finals. In fact, as the tournament wore on, both teams took time to watch each other’s games and to support their NJ youth soccer brethren.
From the opening whistle the girls realized they would be in for a tremendous battle as PDA unleashed a furious and unrelenting attack. It was a truly a test of the Charge’s collective will to weather such high pressure as play was primarily in the Charge side of the field the entire half. Thanks to spectacular goal keeping by Alison Sorkenn and the "Bend but Don’t Break" defense, the girls somehow found a way to finish the half tied at 0-0.
The second half started off with more of the same but slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, the Charge began to chip away. A 50/50 win here, a combination pass there, a hard challenge by one of our defenders, all started to add up to renew the Charge’s spirit and soon the tide began to turn. The second half became more even with each team having their chances but neither being able to score. With the clock reaching the 60 minute mark, the fans were looking forward to over time and a fitting ending to another memorable game between the two rivals. Just as the ref was preparing to end regulation play, PDA was finally able to crack through the Charge defense with a well placed shot from the edge of the box into the upper right hand corner as time expired. Though it was a disappointing end to the Charge’s run, the girl’s walked away to the medals ceremony with their heads held high. Their pride was justified as they had just beaten 3 of the top teams in Region 1 without allowing a goal and battling PDA to the wire, who were just coming off their own impressive victory in the aforementioned Eclipse Select Tournament.
Needless to say a great weekend was had by all and the girls look forward to starting their Jags season and beginning a new quest for the State Cup and hopefully a chance to meet up once again with their friends from PDA.