WESTFIELD – The Alliance/Columbus Express Soccer Club U14 girls soccer team outshot and had more possession time than United Hurricanes on Saturday afternoon.
But in the 93-degree heat at Westfield’s Grand Park, the Alliance/Express squad’s performance on the field didn’t translate to the scoreboard. The Wisconsin state champion scored twice in each half to claim a 4-0 win in the group stage of the Region II Championships.
“We have a lot of sharpshooters on the team, a lot of good finishers, and it just didn’t come off for us today,” Alliance/Express coach Kenrick Ramirez said. “We had more chances than them, and in the run of the game, we actually had more possession, especially in the first half. We needed to take advantage of our opportunities, but we didn’t, and they did.”
Alliance/Express got off 15 shots to 11 for United Hurricanes. But the Hurricanes put nine of those 11 shots on goal, while Alliance/Express had just six shots on goal.
The Hurricanes’ first-half goals came in the eighth and 33rd minutes. Following the second goal, Alliance/Express had a couple chances to get on the board in the final two minutes of the first half, but couldn’t convert.
Alliance/Express had a couple more chances to cut the lead to one in the second half. Paige Waskom put a shot just over the bar in the 38th minute, Sasha Thompson had a breakaway shot tipped over the bar in the 41st minute and Carlie Werner had a close-range shot stopped in the 44th minute.
After that, United Hurricanes scored off a corner kick in the 52nd minute and a free kick in the 57th minute to put it away.
“They scored two brilliant goals in the second half,” Ramirez said. “It’s disappointing for us, but I put some of it on myself with doing things tactically right with formations and lineup.”
Brea Hunter, who will be a freshman at Columbus East, recorded three saves.
Alliance/Express had opened group play Friday with a 4-2 loss to TFA Elite from the Cincinnati area.
“We weren’t as together as a group as we were (Friday),” Hunter said. “(Friday), we had way better technical skills on the ball. There were at least three saves I should have made in that game, but it’s always a learning experience, especially at this level to play top teams from different states. We just have to grow from it and work on the things we need to work on to be better.”
Saturday’s loss effectively eliminates Alliance/Express from a shot at winning the group and advancing to Tuesday’s semifinals. It will wrap up group play against LSC EGA Maroon from Nebraska at 11 a.m. today.
Alliance/Express will be looking to salvage a victory out of its trip to the regional.
“The kids are going to be motivated and have a lot of pride, and we’re going to come out (today) and give everything we have, and we’re looking to get a positive result,” Ramirez said.