Sunday, February 19, 2017
Northwestern High School
District 3 Stadium
Preview Championship Game between the Northwestern Trojans and Rock Hill Bearcats.
Championship day of the Northwestern Trojans Junior Varsity Preview pitted the best two teams in the tournament against each other, the Rock Hill Bearcats and the host team, the Northwestern Trojans. Each of the teams came into the pivotal game with spotless 3 – 0 records and had each scored goals in bunches along the way. Rock Hill was led by their freshman phenom Jada Jones, who had scored a tournament high 9 goals in three games, getting a hat trick in all three contests. Northwestern was being led by the ferocious and very stingy defense, which had yet to allow a single shot to be taken the entire tournament. The Rock Hill defense had proved tough as well, giving up only one goal along the way, while the Trojan offense had led all the teams in the tournament with 18 goals scored through 3 games. Expectations were very high for both squads heading into the final.
The opening whistle got the game going and both teams started trading blows, contesting each other over every square inch of turf that District Three Stadium provided. As the opening minutes wore on though, the ball found itself more and more in the defensive third of Rock Hill. Northwestern had started the game with their third different formation, giving them a more defensive look that also gave them better possession opportunities. The formation also left Jada Jones with a shadow the entire game, provided by 8th grader Claire Sumwalt, who had drawn the short stick and had to pull of the most difficult of tasks. The deadlock between the teams ended when 7th grader Burns Brazzell found a hole in the defense and dribbled into within eight yards and fired a strike into the far corner in the 11th minute for a 1 nil Trojan lead. This would be the beginning of a very big night for the young Trojan and the team in general.
Keeping the theme going, the Trojans continued to pester the Rock Hill defense and hinder any offensive movement, thwarting every effort made by the Bearcats to move the ball out of the defensive third and get the ball to their dynamo Jones. The continued offensive press by waves of Trojans, both starters and those coming off of the bench, netted another goal in the 17th minute when Sophie Kemp found Burns Brazzell open in front of the net with no defender in sight, making the game 2 nil in favor of the Trojans. Brazzell would score again 5 minutes later, taking the ball herself thirty yards and through the Bearcat defense and hitting pay dirt in the far corner giving the Trojans a 3 – 0 lead that would hold until the end of the half. The warm day had taken it’s toll on both squads and each team needed the rest and to make adjustments heading into the second half.
After a short break at intermission ended, the game resumed and once again, the Northwestern Trojans pushed the ball forward, trying to break the Bearcat defense. 8th grader Kierstin Lollis came flying up from her defensive position three minutes into the second half and found a streaking Burns Brazzell in the middle, who neatly pushed the ball past the goalie for her fourth goal of the game, her ninth of the tournament, and a 4 nil Trojan lead. Both teams emptied their benches at this point.
The final score of the game proved to be just as exciting as the first four. Northwestern swatted away a Bearcat run halfway through the second half and worked fast to get on the attack, catching the Bearcats with too many players moved forward in the advanced position. No less than three Northwestern attackers got behind the Bearcat defense while McKenzie Kamego carried the ball forward. Two failed shots looked to doom the Trojans, but a charging Kaelyn Varnadore rewarded herself and her team with a booming follow-up shot to clean up the garbage for her second goal of the tournament and a 5 – 0 lead that would last until the final whistle. Of note, The Trojans streak of not allowing a single shot in the tournament ended at the 237 minutes when the Bearcats got two shots off late in the game.
For the tournament, the Trojans netted 23 goals by ten different players and surrendered none, recording 4 clean sheets in the process using three different goalies. Madisen Campbell anchored the entire Championship Game in the net. Noted for their offensive play, besides those mentioned earlier, were Camryn Guest, Lyvia Sy, Bergen Mullen, Maggie Eddy, and Jordan Barnes. Defensive nods went to Lynda Passmore, Kaylee Ashley, Kierstin Lollis, Claire Sumwalt, Jerzee Bochinski, Alexis Parker, and Zevi Gibson.
Tournament awards were as follows for the Northwestern Trojans:
Offensive Player: Burns Brazzell
Defensive Player: Kaylee Ashley
Hustle Player: Kaelyn Varnadore
Shots SOG CK F OS
RH 2 1 0 5 0
NW 18 12 4 4 0
District 3 Stadium