ODP East Region Championship: U16 Girls (2002) Dominant Again
Eastern Pennsylvania 3, Virginia 1
When the Eastern Pennsylvania U16 Girls ODP team fell behind 1-0 early--as in first minute or two early--to Virginia in the ODP East Region final, they could have panicked. After all, Virginia defeated Eastern Pennsylvania last year in the regional semifinals.
But this Eastern Pennsylvania outfit was different.
"I think our team was a lot better," said Ava Schaller, who's been playing ODP for three seasons now. "We got new players, and they really helped this year."
The core of the team also tasted success this spring: five of the players are on Lehigh Valley United, which won a second consecutive Eastern Pennsylvania State Cup in May. In other words, a one-goal deficit didn't faze the girls.
"We just didn't let it get to us," said Schaller. "We just kept pushing. We finally got one and then another came, and it just went up from there."
Schaller scored twice before the first-half was over to give Eastern Pennsylvania the lead. After the break, Katie Sullivan, one of the key additions Schaller mentioned by name, provided an insurance goal that all but sealed the title.
Eastern Pennsylvania produced four regional champions. Perhaps none were more impressive the U16 Girls: they ended the competition with 24 goals for and just three against. In doing so, they became the first Eastern Pennsylvania girls team to win a regional title since 2014.
Ava Schaller (white jersey) had a nose for the net Sunday. She scored twice in the 3-1 win.