The Fall ECNL season wraps up this coming weekend for the High School girls, featuring the SLSG ECNL Derby games between Illinois and Missouri. I try to catch one of the home-and-away matches each year, especially as it will be senior recognition night for the U18/19’s who are approaching their final high school season. More specifically I should say it is the last home games for the teams with only out-of-state ECNL Tournaments remaining. So unless you have a travel budget, now is the time to get out.
@SoccerSTL change in schedule for SLSG Derby games due to incoming weather
Fri 16th 7pm u16's
Sat 17th 9am u17's
Wed 21st 6:30pm u18's
— Ralph Richards (@SLSGelitegirls) December 15, 2016
I’ll be at the Missouri High School Coaches Boys Honors Banquet and Hall of Fame Induction so I caught a pair of games against Chicago Eclipse this past Sunday to report on. First the U17 Girls followed by the U18’s. At the end I’ll provide info on the other age groups that have home games coming up.
U17 (2000) Girls
The top performing team for the club, they sit atop the table and are undefeated through 15 matches this season with a 12-0-3 record, including Sunday’s 1-1 draw with the Chicago Eclipse. With a mix of sophomores (9) and juniors (8) they are a relatively young team but are performing at a high level. Led by All-American Anna Lawler in the middle, the roster is stocked and explains the quality of the team.
PHOTO GALLERY – Eclipse at SLSG MO 2000
The game Sunday opened very well as the team showed how well they could control the ball and set the tone for the game. However, a give away in the back led to a throw-in deep on the left side that somehow got through a cluster of players at the near post, including the entire back four and the GK, leading to a finish into an empty net by Eclipse in the 21st minute. The lead was short-lived when a minute later Abbie Miller (Howell North) hammered a 35 yard shot that went in off the underside of the crossbar. Celebrate!
Eclipse came out energized in the second half but were unable to get another goal. Natalie Jackson at center back did well in front of Kasey Hartmann and Isabel Burke (Webster Groves) showed plenty of courage by not backing down on an indirect kick from 12 yards (pass back to keeper called) as well as getting into the attack regularly. SLSG’s best chance was snuffed when Gabriella Cesarone was able to cut in front of Emily Groark in the six yard box to clear a pass that seemed destined for the back of the net.
FINAL Home Game – SLSG Missouri hosts SLSG Illinois, 12:30 pm Sunday December 18 on Field 1.
U18 (1999) Girls
The U18 girls sit in fourth place, just outside the playoff zone at the moment, following their decisive 3-1 win over Chicago Eclipse on Sunday. Chicago scored first against the run of play when a midfielder found space to the left of goal before firing to the far side for the lead. Gallagher tied the match late in the first half when All-American Kirsten Davis found a streaking Blythe Beldner moving from right to left in the box. Beldner returned the ball to Davis who continued her run into the box before slotting calmly past the goalkeeper for the 1-1 tie.
PHOTO GALLERY – Eclipse at SLSG MO 1999
Davis, who’s close control in Sunday’s match show’s the progress made following four National team camps in 2016, was a constant threat for SLSG. But before she could continue to make her mark on this game, it was Megan McCluer (Webster Groves) in goal that kept the game close. In the first half she took a ball off the foot of an Eclipse player and then early in the second she made a save on a shot that seemed destined for the top right corner as she got back quickly for a headed ball that was sent to the far post. Until she found a way to get there.
Gallagher showed more energy after that and finally took the lead in the 74th minute on Kayleigh Stahlschmidt’s goal, scored from the left side. The final tally came in the 78th as Gabby Lawlor one-timed a ball over the defense into Davis’ path. The half step advantage was all she needed as she broke into the box and slipped past the goalkeeper’s attempt at a save, tapping into an empty net for her second.
FINAL Game – SLSG Missouri hosts SLSG Illinois, 2:30 pm Sunday December 18 on Field 1.
The team stands mid-table with a 5-4 record this Fall. They have a pair of games remaining this weekend. They’ll play two matches against Minnesota Thunder Academy – Saturday at 3:00 pm and Sunday at 9:00 am. Both games at WWT Soccer Park.
The team is currently qualified for the Championship tourney next Summer with a record of 8-4-3. They’ll face SLSG Illinois on Sunday at 10:45 am on Field 1.
The team sits fifth of nine in the Midwest Conference, outside the playoffs with a 5-2-3 record. With a large group of 2021 graduates (eight graders) they have games on their schedule in the Spring, finishing June 1st against Eclipse. No match this weekend.
Sitting in sixth place the team has a 2-4-4 record. They too will play through May next Spring.