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05 Girls Win in Dramatic Fashion at Arlington Labor Day Shootout

By Kelley Ellenberger, 09/20/17, 5:00PM CDT

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Sparta FC 05 girls go to PKs in the championship game

The Sparta FC 05 girls have brought home yet another title.  This was their second championship in as many tournaments for the 2017/18 soccer season.  The girls had a great record of 2-1-0 coming in second place in bracket play behind Rose City Elite, earning enough points to advance to the finals.

Game 1 vs. Revolution SC: The first game of the tournament was against a club that we were already familiar with, although this team was newly formed.  We started off strong getting off to an early lead in the 9th minute with a goal by forward Lauren Wichterich.  Midfielder Emily Bond came in with the assist.  After a lot of back and forth between both teams, Katie Wong takes possession of a ball deflected by Revolutions keeper.  She was able to take it in and sail a high kick over the goalie's head from just outside the 18.  Sparta finished the first half in the lead 2-0.  The second half started off with Sparta going hard at their keeper, taking lots of shots, but coming up short on all until the 57th minute when Samantha Ellenberger scored off of an assist by Olivia Morrow.  The game ended in a 3-0 victory for Sparta.  Our defense was relentless, not giving a chance for keeper Karyme Garcia to record a single save.  She did, however, walk away with the shutout and the win.  Sparta took a whopping 24 total shots in this game, 16 of those being recorded as shots on goal. 

Game 2 vs. Rose City Elite FC:  Let me just say that game two was a nail biter.  Our girls played a new team that we had not yet had the chance to see.  Rose City Elite came out gunning for a win as did ours.  Both teams worked at each other trying to find a weak spot to gain the advantage.  This proved fruitless until the 51st minute when Rose City was able to sneak one past keeper Karyme Garcia.  That was all that was needed as our Sparta girls were not able to score for the remainder of the game.  Rose City won 1-0.  Keeper Karyme Garcia walked away with 8 saves.

Game 3 vs. Pink Diamonds:  We have played the Pink Diamonds many times and have yet to lose to them.  They are a bit of a rival and known to always play a little on the rough side.  But it doesn't matter how rough the other team plays, our girls will find ways to out battle and hold their own ground firm and steady.  The Pink Diamonds proved no match for our Sparta girls as we took the win by a score of 2-0.  We came out strong in the first half scoring quickly in the 5th minute by a long, hard shot from outside the 18 by mid-fielder Olivia Morrow.  Emily Bond recorded the assist.  The first half ended 1-0.  The second half started just like the first with forward Samantha Ellenberger scoring in the 32nd minute with an assist by Olivia Morrow.  That was the final goal of the game.   Keeper Karyme Garcia was once again denied any opportunity for a save due to our brutal defense not letting the ball get that close. 

The end of bracket play ended with Sparta in second place, earning a spot in the finals against Rose City Elite, whom they'd lost to earlier in the tournament.

The Championship…

Our girls were ready to battle.  Looking to bring home another tournament win in the same fashion that we did in the Cowtown Classic, by beating the one team that was able to best us throughout the tournament.  The environment was electric.  Both teams were tirelessly getting ready to play a game that was sure to be a fight to the end.

The whistle blows and the game is under way.  Rose City came out strong and fast, scoring in the first two minutes of the game off a free kick that they were able to sail over Karyme's head and out of reach.  They were hyped and determined to stop our girls. 

What they don't know, however, is that one goal isn't enough to get our girls down.  We did not give up and fought hard.  A lot of shots were taken by both teams and all failed to find the back of the net.  Karyme recorded 7 saves throughout the game.  Finally, in the 57th minute, just three minutes away from the game ending, mid-fielder Olivia Morrow get the chance to take a corner kick.  After the ball was deflected by a Rose City defender back towards the outside, forward Lauren Wichterich received the ball and was able to cross it into the center to forward Samantha Ellenberger who was able to get through two defenders and drill it into the back of the net.  Game tied! 

It was the end of regulation with the game tied 1-1.  We were headed to overtime.  There would be two ten minute overtime periods that came and went with neither team scoring.  These girls were exhausted.

The Shootout…

With the game still tied after both overtime periods, it was time to take it to PKs.  It is now up to both team's keepers to save the day.

Rose City took the first shot of the shootout, but was unable to get the ball past Karyme.

Tatum Winn was up first for Sparta.  We all know what happens when Tatum takes a PK.  True to form, she put in in the top corner of the goal for the first score.  Sparta is up 1-0.

Rose City takes their second shot and was able to sneak it past Karyme high in the corner.

Katie Wong was up to take our second kick.  She had a great, hard kick that was, unfortunately, deflected by their keeper for no goal. We were tied 1-1.

The third kick by Rose City was brilliantly stopped by Karyme to give our girls the chance to once again take the lead.

Keris Neuweiler placed the ball, ready to take the kick, aimed and sailed it into the net to the right of the keeper, who was able to get a hand on it, but not enough to save it.  Score! Sparta is up 2-1.

Rose City was able to get their next kick in to tie it back up 2-2.  They had now taken four kicks to our three.

Mid fielder Olivia Morrow was up next.  Looking hard at the goalie, she took the kick but the ball was stopped short of entering the goal by their keeper. 

Rose city had the chance to take the lead on their final shot, trying to sneak it in under Karyme's legs.  Karyme wasn't fooled and made the stop.  Rose City had failed to score on their last kick, leaving it tied 2-2 with one kick left for Sparta.  We have the chance to win.

Samantha Vesely was up.  The last kick of the tournament.  The crowd was silent.  You could have heard a pin drop on the field….or maybe I was just too nervous to hear anything around me.  Samantha lines the ball up on the mark and backs up.  The keeper is waving her arms, swaying side to side waiting to make the stop.  The kick….is good. 

SPARTA WINS in the most dramatic way they knew how!  Two titles in as many tournaments with this amazing group of girls. 

Way to go SPARTA!!!