DOWNINGTOWN - Five of the 12 NCS State Cup finals went to penalties on a drama-filled Saturday where even the games that didn't go to shootouts featured seesaw back-and-forth action and unforgettable goals.
Just one team repeated from last year - FC Revolution Reds - and they beat a strong Keystone FC team 2-0 to complete an incredible two-year run where they've outscored opponents 24-0 in seven cup games.
YMS Spirit were denied a third straight cup title, Keystone Athletic fell on penalties in their bid to repeat and Penn Alliance Select fell victim to two stunning goals from Reading Rage in their bid to win back-to-back titles.
12U Girls: Philadelphia SC Coppa 1 (4-3 PKs) Penn Fusion Soccer Academy 1
After a hard fought match Penn Fusion opened the scoring late in the second half on a shot from the corner of the box by Ryann Cicero only to concede an equalizer seconds later off a corner kick from Meghan McKenna to Maeve Hasson. Coppa keeper Giuliana Russo made a pair of saves in the shootout to lead them to a 4-3 win in the shootout and avenge a Challenge Cup final loss to Penn Fusion last year.
12U Boys: Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals Black 3 Villanova Soccer Academy Green Lightning 0
Another runner up from last year’s Challenge Cup was able to capture the NCS State Cup in their first year with Ukies beating Villanova Soccer Academy 3-0. The Ukies lost 3-2 to Lower Merion SC Irmaos Navy in the Challenge Cup final in 2022. After a scoreless first half, the Ukies scored a pair of goals three minutes apart early in the second half. The first came off an incredible cross near the left sideline by Reece Reardon that found the head of Luke Loftus in front of goal and the second was off a long free kick from Jaxson Fulmer. Breck Murphy added an exclamation point just before full time with a line drive shot off a back heel flick from Fulmer.
13U Girls: Keystone FC Premier 3 Warrington SC United 2
Keystone FC was able to overcome an injury to their goalkeeper and hold on to a 3-2 win on a late goal with a field player filling in to defeat Warrington SC and advance to the regional championships.
13U Boys: Keystone FC Premier 1 (5-4 PKs) YMS Premier United 1
Scoreless through much of the game, the teams traded goals in overtime and had to decide a winner from the spot in an evenly played match.
14U Girls: Reading Rage Pugh 2 Penn Alliance Select 0
Reading Rage scored a stunning goal in each half to knock off the defending champions. Bailey Pekuri opened the scoring 20 minutes in with a long run from midfield and swerving right-footed shot from the D. Pekuri assisted on the second goal with a left-footed pass to Presleigh Finkbiner into space and the left back drilled a right-footed shot that beat the keeper to the right side of the net.
14U Boys: FC Europa Elite 5 YMS Premier Warriors 3
YMS was seconds away from the win when Scott Cunningham stepped up to score a free kick, complete a hat trick for FC Europa and send the game to overtime. Once in overtime, FC Europa capitalized on the momentum and grabbed two more goals to complete the stunning turnaround against a YMS team that went down to 10 men with a red card in the second overtime period. Scott Cunningham scored four of Europa’s five goals on the day.
15U Girls: FC Europa Elite 1 YMS Premier Spirt 0
FC Europa scored their lone goal from the penalty spot in the second half after a long throw into the box hit the arm of a YMS defender. Captain Paige Mackiewicz stepped up to slot the penalty into the right corner of the net and then helped to anchor the back line to lock things down defensively and knock off two-time state cup champions YMS Premier Spirit.
15U Boys: YMS Premier Celtic 1 (4-3 PKs) Lower Merion SC FCE Thunder 1
YMS goalkeeper Billy Burke made a pair of saves in the shootout to lead Celtic to a penalty shootout win after they came from behind to tie the game in the 77th minute on a Dominic Czachor goal.
16U Girls: Reading Rage Press 2 (5-3 PKs) Keystone Athletic Black 2
Reading Rage found equalizers in each half - Ellie Lefler in the first to cancel out Eva Canevari's opener and Ava Ortiz in the second to cancel out an Anya Johns penalty - and prevailed in a penalty shootout to knock off the defending champs. Lefler was the fifth straight kicker to confer from the spot in the shootout to clinch the victory.
16U Boys: YMS Premier Blackout 1 (4-3 on PKs) PA Dominion 1
YMS Blackout outlasted PA Dominion in a tightly-contested final to win the 16U Boys NCS Cup on penalties. The teams finished 1-1 after regulation and went scoreless in overtime before YMS prevailed in the penalty shootout.
17U Girls: FC Revolution Reds 2 Keystone FC 0
Annie McCaffery scored from distance off an assist from Anna Buckwalter in the first half and Ashley Lavrich finished off some lovely combination play with Margaret Holloway and Sophia Zeppos in the second half to lead the Reds to their second straight cup title. The 2-0 win was their seventh straight clean sheet in state cup play over the past two years.
17U Boys: Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals 2 FC Europa Elite 1
Patrick Cole scored in the final minutes of overtime as the Ukranian Nationals defeated FC Europa in the 17U NCS Final. In a game that featured two strong, organized defenses and a high level of skill at every position, it took a moment of magic to decide the outcome.