Lightning Soccer Club News Release - www.uvlightning.org
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
NORWICH, VT - In its inaugural season in the USL Super Y-League, New England-based Lightning Soccer Club’s U16 girls and U15 boys each secured a bid to the 2012 SYL North American Finals to be held December 7-11 at the prestigious IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
“We are extremely pleased with the results of our first season in Super Y. With two of our four teams representing LSC at the national championships in Florida, and a third narrowly missing a bid, we have proven that our club is ready for competition at this level,” said Charles Mhlauri, Lightning Soccer Club’s Director of Coaching and former head coach of the Zimbabwe men’s national team. Mhlauri, who joined LSC in 2009, has grown the club to more than 500 players with numerous premier teams now competing in some of the most competitive leagues and tournaments in the country.
Under the guidance of Mhlauri, the U16 girls finished the season in second place in the New England division, earning the bid to the finals by beating out Ottawa Fury in a tie-breaker. The Lightning team was a blend of players from five different clubs across Vermont and New Hampshire, elected by their coaches to compete at this level.
“The players came together onto one elite team, growing rapidly in consistency and connection over the course of the summer," Mhlauri stated. “I’m looking forward to bringing them together in Florida in December to build on what they started this season.”
Players to watch in Florida include Macie Sicard in goal, Olivia Matthews and Katie Sanders in the backfield, Katherine Stames and Greta Hulleberg in the midfield, and Hannah Merriam and Shannon Walsh up top.
The U15 boys squad, coached by Mike Doherty, who led Colgate University’s men’s soccer program as head coach for 20 years, is one of the most accomplished premier teams in the club. The team has captured numerous championships including the New Hampshire State Cup, New England Premiership, Needham, NEFC, and Nordic Cup. The U15 boys began their rigorous 12 game schedule with a few tough losses on the road, but finished the season strong losing only one game in its final seven matches.
During the final weekends of competition, LSC needed to win two of its last three matches to secure a ticket to Florida against some of the toughest teams in the league. Lightning eliminated MPS Crusaders from the race with a 1-0 victory, lost to the Ottawa Fury, and beat last year’s Super Y-League New England division champion MPS Bulldogs 3-2 in a winner-take-all contest on the final day of the season.
“Intelligence, creativity, and competitiveness are hallmarks of this group,” according to Doherty. “Patrick McCue, Ethan Kable, Morgan Dewdney, and Max Matel in goal provide a strong core, while up top Jack Doherty and Hunter Pelkey add attacking flare, but goals can come from anywhere which makes us difficult to defend.” More than half of the team’s players have recorded goals and/or assists on the season.