Only a few months ago, a U12 girls soccer team went to Traverse City and won the club’s first Cherry Capital Cup Tournament Championship. On September 15, that same team, now a U13 girls soccer team, returned to Traverse City, but this time with a mission to claim the Autumn Classic Tournament Championship.
Although the team was without two players (Jordan Falk, Leah Kuzma) due to injuries, they still went to the tournament determined to win the championship, and it appeared they would during qualifying play. Goalkeepers Autumn Hinton and Maddie Nichols, along with defensive players, Skyler Calati, Maddi Case, Grace Dault, Carly Hyder, Sydney Plummer, and Shelby Shotko did not allow any goals scored, while the combination play of the midfield (Hinton, Carly McCuaig, Nicole Mosher, Ashlee Neve, Payton Rumsey, Umphrey, and VanDyke) and forward players (Buchner, Nichols and Julia VanDenHout) kept constant pressure on opposing teams throughout the tournament.
The team won their first game with a 1-0 (Baylie VanDyke) victory over Bay Area Spirit, tied their second game 0-0 against TKO Crew and bounced back with a 2-0 (Jenica Buchner, Myla Umphrey) victory over North Strom. Unfortunately, although the team was undefeated at the end of qualifying play, and tied for first place with TKO Crew, due to tournament tiebreaker rules, TKO Crew was determined to have a better record based on the number of goals scored and moved on to the championship game, which they won.
“While it was disappointing that the team was not able to play in the championship game, it’s still quite an accomplishment that the team went undefeated given that we added six new players to the team this year and tournament play was the first opportunity for these girls to play together as a complete team. Our focus from the start has been about playing together as a team and it showed during the tournament,” said Coach Hinton.