Emily Karlicki broke a scoreless draw late in the second half to lead Kearny Thistle United Paisley to a 1-0 win over West Mont United in a rematch from Friday that West Mont won 2-0.
“It was a phenomenal game,” head coach George Nogueira said, trophy in hand, after the match. “We’re a possession style team; our bread and butter is building out of the back, connecting, small passes, that’s our philosophy. I think the nerves got to us on Friday; today we wanted to build out of the back but we were more selective.”
Karlicki said she wasn’t sure her shot was going to go in off her foot.
“I saw the lane and I just took it,” she said.
Kearny Thistle United's win was the first of four finals between New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania, which together account for 18 of the 30 teams playing in finals on Tuesday.
‘I’m a center back’
When Naugatuck Youth Soccer goalkeeper Rocco Grella went down in the first game on Friday with a concussion after taking a knee to the head, Kaleb Vaituzis was the next man up.
That would be center back Kaleb Vaituzis, who can now head penalty shootout hero to his resume.
Vaituzis made a pair of saves to lead his team to a shootout win over Arlington SC after a 1-1 draw where each team scored in extra time.
Naugatuck fell behind early in the shootout when an attempt hit to the post but Vaituzis was able to pick his teammate up and lift his team into Tuesday’s regional final. The shootout win also secured the Connecticut team a spot in the National Presidents Cup.
“I’m just thinking about my team and all the hard work it took to get here,” Vaituzis said after celebrating with his teammates and parents, who were all wearing matching maroon Naugatuck shirts.
Head coach Jaime Pereira was beaming with pride afterwards.
“These kids, the group that they are, made this happen,” he said. “Against premier teams, against academy teams, they made it happen.”
Overtime penalty leads FC Stars into final
A penalty kick in overtime ensured that New Hampshire will be represented in Tuesday’s finals.
After a scoreless draw through regulation, the decisive moment came in overtime when Jeremiah Chappel was able to draw a penalty and convert from the spot to break a scoreless deadlock.
“It was pretty tight throughout the whole game, just battling in the midfield,” said captain Ryan Pasternak. “When (Jeremiah) went down in the box I felt hopeful and then when he scored it was really just awesome.”
By the Numbers
Seven different state associations have teams playing in the USYS Eastern Presidents Cup finals. Eastern Pennsylvania leads the way with 11 teams counting finalist West Mont United, which lost in the 19U Girls final on Monday. New Jersey is second with 7, followed by Maryland with 4, PA West with 4, Virginia with 2 and Connecticut and New Hampshire each with 1.
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