- Johnny Esfeller
IMG Academy Girls Soccer U15 and U17 teams begin 2013-14 with tournament success
Over Labor Day weekend, the IMG Academy U15 and U17 girls soccer teams took to the road to take part in a pair of Florida-based tournaments. The U15s traveled to Clearwater, Fla. to compete in the Chargers Labor Day Tournament, and the U17 team made their way to Orlando, Fla. to compete in the Disney Showcase Qualifier.
The U15 team played four games, finishing with a 3-0-1 record. The team advanced to the finals after beating Boca United in penalty kicks. The game ended in a 1–1 draw and IMG Academy advanced after the eighth PK. GK Charli Pogany's heroics saved the day, as she scored the eigth PK for IMG Academy, then made the save when Boca attempted their eighth kick.
In the tournament final, the U15s faced S. Orlando, winning the match 3-2. Midfielder Olivia Runge scored the first goal at 10 minutes into the game assisted by Anne Marie Boeckman. The U15s went into overtime and Sravya Kamarajugadda assited Nicole Cook for second goal. Orlando netted a second goal to knot it up at 2-2, before Mara Rodriguez slipped a great ball through to Hunter Alspaugh to secure a dramatic 3 – 2 victory.
The U17 team (pictured left), meanwhile, played five games in three days. The team is almost entirely new, with 12 new players on the squad for 2013-14. The players with the biggest impact offensively were Tyler Gordon (5 goals, 1 assist), Nikiay Comer (2 goals, 1 assist) and Sarah Quick (2 goals, 3 assists) who led the scoring through the weekend. Notably, in the semifinals, Sydney Norris scored the game winning goal in the final three minutes to break a 2 – 2 tie against Tampa Bay United. However, the team fell to Bay United SC in the final by a 1-0 margin. The loss is not the end of the road, because with the runner-up finish in the Girls U17 Red division, the IMG Academy girls have automatically qualified for entry in the Disney Soccer Showcase in December.