Strike Eagles soccer team earns second in tournament
By Tech. Sgt. Les Waters, 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 25, 2009
SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- One goal was all it took to send the girls' Strike Eagle FC soccer team into the State Wide Athletic Counsel 2009 State Soccer Tournament championship match against Burlington-Red Robin, held at the Rocky Mount Sports Complex, Nov. 22. The road the team traveled down to get to the championship match was not an easy one.
The Strike Eagle FC girls' team faced the Burlington-Red Robin team in the first match of the two-day tournament, which began Nov. 21. The cold weather and inexperience playing together did not hold the Strike Eagle FC back.
The girls' soccer coach John McCoy said the team has been together for about a month while the other teams have played together for 4 to 6 years.
"Coming into this tournament as the underdog and never having played a game together, the girls did an awesome job," Coach McCoy said. "We played teams who have been playing together for 4 to 6 years. In one month, my team did what teams have been doing for years, and I am very proud of every one of the players."
At the end of the match, Burlington-Red Robin came out on top with a 4-1 win. Breanna Donnelly, Strike Eagle FC midfielder scored the only goal, preventing the team from being shut out.
During the second match, the Strike Eagle FC played an overly aggressive Davidson County team.
"This group of girls really came together as a team and really did a great job on the field," Coach McCoy said. "Even when the other team hurt one of our players our girls rallied together and came back and scored."
Davidson County pulled out the victory, 3-2. Striker Rylee Waters and midfielder Cheyenne Craft scored the team's two goals. Davidson County injured Rylee Waters during the match and was unable to participate in the semi-final and championship matches.
Strike Eagle FC would have its revenge, facing Davidson County in the semifinal match. The girls were ready this time and scored early on a 25-yard strike from midfielder Breanna Donnelly in the first five minutes of the match. Davidson County tried repeatedly to score an equalizer, but the defense repelled each attack, to include a penalty kick stopped by goalie Miranda McHale.
"The defense (and the goalie) did an awesome job throughout the tournament keeping the opposing team from scoring goals and keeping the ball up the field," Coach McCoy said.
Donnelly's goal was enough to get the Strike Eagles into the championship match and a rematch against Burlington-Red Robin. Unfortunately, the Strike Eagles ran out of gas during the previous match, as Burlington-Red Robin beat the Eagles, 3-0.
The boys also competed in their respectively league, losing all three matches.
"I felt the boys did quite well in the tournament considering the small amount of time we had to practice as a team," Coach Greggory Pralle said. "Most of the boys were playing football and or soccer with their respective school teams, so we did not have a full team roster until the week before the tournament."
The boys and girls teams comprised of more than thirty 12 to 15 years old from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and the Goldsboro YMCA youth programs.