VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Girls Elite squad wrapped up their Southern Californian road trip this past weekend at the prestigious 2013 soccerloco Surf College Cup in San Diego.
The 'Caps posted a 0W-1L-2D record and did not advance beyond the group stage, but head coach Jesse Symons said he saw the tournament as a success in terms of development and playing in front of college coaches.
“To consistently have 45-50 college coaches observing the players and giving excellent feedback on individual players was amazing,” Symons told whitecapsfc.com. “This will hopefully help the Girls Elite players' progress in the college process to soon commit to a post secondary school.”
The Girls Elite squad took their undefeated Metro Women's Soccer League (MWSL) record into the tournament, as they kicked it off with a pair of matches last Friday, with the former coming in a 2-2 draw against West Coast FC ECNL. Whitecaps FC found themselves down by a two-goal margin early on in the second half, but pulled the score back in the waning minutes of action.
First, midfielder Samantha Donald played in Jenna Baxter, who calmly played the ball across to striker Monpreet Heer for the easy tap in.
Just two minutes later, the 'Caps come close to equalizing when defender Simmrin Dhaliwal went for goal from close range, but her shot rung off the crossbar. The rebound landed right on the foot of midfielder Katelyn Erhardsen, but her effort sailed over the net.
Erhardsen would not be denied with five minutes left in the match, however. Baxter played the role of provider again and Erhardsen finished from the top of the box to help the 'Caps earn a late 2-2 draw.
Later on Friday, the Blue and White met San Diego Surf SC ECNL Academy and suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat.
The 'Caps came out with tremendous control and possession in the match, showing some very high level technique and patience in a scoreless first half.
However, San Diego broke the deadlock early in the second half with a pair of goals. The ‘Caps pulled one back off the ensuing kickoff, as defender Meghan Douglas played a beautiful ball to Ashley Burgess, who sent one into Dhaliwal. The defender did well to beat the Surf centre back and find the back of the net with 20 minutes remaining.
This time they could the not find the equalizer, as close chances by Rachel Jones, Baxter, and Dhaliwal were put agnozingly wide in the last few minutes.
Whitecaps FC then wrapped up the Girls U-17 Super - Bracket C action on Saturday with a scoreless draw against Colorado’s Pride SC Predators.
Standout performances by midfielders Willa Taylor and Samantha Donald, as well as goalkeeper Ashleah McDonald, helped the ‘Caps control long spells of the match against the Colorado State Champions to earn their second draw of the tournament.
"The girls played with a quick tempo and kept the ball for long periods of time against very athletic teams," said Symons. "They possessed the ball extremely well through all three matches and were able to really showcase themselves and the club admirably."
The 'Caps continue their MWSL campaign on Tuesday against CMFSC Extreme at Simon Fraser University.