The Newport-Mesa girls’ U10 Yellow Tigers soccer team won the Spring AYSO Regions 57, 97 and 120 Tournament Championship on Sunday.
The team, coached by Eric Rans and David Heaslip, had a solid season but due to some late-game losses came into the tournament championship as the No. 7 seed.
On Saturday, the Newport-Mesa girls handily outscored two teams from Corona del Mar, 9-1, earning a spot in the semifinals on Sunday.
In the semifinal game, despite falling behind early, 1-0, the Tigers roared back with three straights goals from forwards Fiona Batstone, Bridget Walton and Sofia Rans, eventually winning the game, 3-2.
In the afternoon championship game, the Tigers again fell behind early but the bend-but-don’t-break defensive team effort led by Sydney Anderson, Hannah Barrett, Mary Grace Anderson, Mary Kelly and twins Shea and Holly Heaslip, kept the Tigers in the game until the offense woke up in the final quarter. Following a big punt, that covered 3/4 of the field, from midfielder and newly installed goalie Bella Carmichael, forward Rebecca Avila collected the ball, danced through the defense and tied the score up 1-1.
Finally, with three minutes left before a looming overtime, the Tigers were frantically attacking the opponents goal, when Sofia Rans was able to slip a shot past the opposing goalie for what would turned out to be the eventual game winner.
The faithful Tiger fans, including dedicated families and recently injured starting goalie Emily Park, were there to root the team to victory.
“This group of players really came together throughout the spring, and I knew they would be a force to be reckoned with in the league championship tournament,” Coach Eric Rans said. “Their teamwork, support of each other and positive attitude, made them a pleasure to coach. The final game was an absolute nail-biter, but the girls dug deep, put in their maximum effort, played great team soccer and deservedly earned the tournament championship.”
— Reader submission