Soccer

Strikers set to invade Chicago after winning Ohio State Cup

Local 14U girls soccer team enjoys striking up a state championship

“Relax. You get on the horn. I’ll throw some peanuts at them. We’ll be in Chicago before you know it.”

This was Chris Farley’s classic line in “Tommy Boy” as he and David Spade boarded a plane to Chicago to sell Callahan brake pads.

The Ohio Strikers United (OSU) U14 girls soccer team won’t be chucking peanuts at anyone, but the squad is headed to Chicago to participate in US Club Soccer’s National Cup Midwest Regional Tournament June 22-25. The battle for regional champion will take place at Libertyville Township Soccer Complex in Libertyville, Illinois.

With a 5-0 victory in the 2018 Ohio State Cup tournament final on Sunday, June 3 in Willoughby, the ladies earned their bid to the regionals, shutting out Cuyahoga Valley (CVSA) in an exciting final.

At least it was exciting for the Strikers.

Late in the first half of the final, Allison Murphy (Chippewa) hit a dynamite crossing pass from the right corner that reached the back post, where the ball found the foot of Ella Plank (Ashland). Plank one-touched the ball into the goal to give the Strikers a 1-0 lead just 35 seconds before the half.

Now with Mr. Momentum on their side, the Strikers came out in the second half and quickly tilted the pitch in their favor. Ten minutes into the second half, Paige Gertz (Hiland) stole a pass in the CVSA defensive and hammered home a goal to put the Strikers up 2-0.

Minutes after the Gertz goal, Maici Money (West Holmes) added two goals in the next four minutes. Money’s first goal came when she slipped behind the defense and put one past the CVSA keeper, putting OSU up 3-0. The score quickly soared to 4-0 when Money chipped the keeper from outside the 18-yard box, and the Strikers were ready to travel the road to Chicago.

Gertz added OSU’s fifth goal off a corner kick from an assist from Sydney Polen (Loudonville). Polen drove a liner into the penalty area, where Gertz simply kneed it into the back of the net.

Kylie Nussbaum (Kidron Central Christian) played every minute in goal for the Strikers in the tournament, allowing just two goals in five games.

Playing in front of Nussbaum throughout the entire tournament was a strong defensive core made up of Sophie Gamble (Wooster), Sydney Ebin (Wooster), Taylor Garver (Ashland), Izzy Kocsis (Norton) and Meghan Cavey (Cloverleaf).

The Strikers finished the US Soccer Club State Cup tournament with a 4-1 record, their only loss coming to the feet of the West Side Stars 04 in the first weekend of the tournament on May 19 and 20. The loss didn’t come back to hurt the Strikers as they were still able to finish first in pool play with wins over Boca 04 (1-0) and CVSA (2-0).

In the semifinal of bracket play on June 2, OSU took down Everest 04 Black 2-1, a win that got them into the State Cup Final. Polen was the dangerous factor in the semifinal, notching both goals for the Strikers, one in the first half and the game-winner in the second half.

Ohio Strikers United is a premier-level soccer club that was established in the spring of 2006. Their teams compete in the CASA League, MRL and GLA all across Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.

The club’s success last weekend didn’t stop with the U14 girls team. The OSU soccer club also is sending their U13 boys team to the Midwest Regional in Chicago, and OSU’s U19 girls team will participate on the big stage in two weeks. OSU’s U12 girls team also won the Ohio State Cup, but their division does not have a regional tournament. And finally, OSU’s U12 boys team finished as runner-up at the Ohio State Cup tournament, adding to the club’s achievements in Willoughby last weekend.

To learn more about Ohio Strikers United Soccer Club, visit www.osusoccerclub.com.

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