Thursday, 06 June 2013 00:00
In what has become a rite of passage for the Great Neck Soccer Club, the U14 divisions of both the boys and girls were treated to a trip down south to commemorate their hard work over the years. This year was particularly special as the clubs’ Jaguars (u14 girls) competed in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Memorial Day soccer tournament, and came home as champions.
The core group of Jaguars has been playing together for five years. The first game was a defensive struggle from the start. A second half goal by the Jaguars broke the 0-0 tie. Great Neck held on for the 1-0 win vs. a tough team from Weston Florida. They had a 2:00 game, so after a short rest and a quick lunch, the Jaguars returned to the soccer park, found their field and got ready for game two.
The temperature was around 85 degrees. The coaches were filling the players with water. The Jaguars came out strong, continued to play great defense and this time scored an early goal to go up 1-0. Doral countered and scored two goals, with the second on a penalty kick. After tying the game at 2-2, the play went back and forth. The effort the whole team put forth, paid off with a late goal and a thrilling 3-2 victory. The win put the Jaguars in great shape going into Sunday.
Great Neck needed at least a tie to advance as the number one seed in the semi-finals. Another defensive battle went to 0-0 at the half. Great Neck fell behind 1-0 on a bad bounce that resulted in a goal. With five minutes to go, the Jaguars tied up the game at 1, and managed to keep that tie to secure the top seed.
The Jaguars dominated the Weston Select team in the semi finals. They went up 1-0 fairly early, expending the lead in the second half to 2-0 and put the game away late in the second half with a goal and a strong 3-0 victory. In the finals, Great Neck dominated the play in the first half. Despite dominating the play, a great save by the Lightning goalie keep the game at 0-0 at halftime.
Coming out of the halftime break, fatigue started to set in and the Jaguars faced their toughest challenge of the tournament. Much of the play was in their defensive end. But with the team playing as one, they held off the attacks and the game remained scoreless. The game ended in a 0-0 tie and went to a10 minute overtime. With about two minutes played in overtime, Great Neck struck. A strong move downfield followed by a rebound goal put the first score on the board. The Jaguars held onto the slim lead, and when the final whistle blew, emerged as champions!