Heading back to the Region 3 Championships for a club record 6th appearance the 96’ Girls Elite are looking to finish out their last club experience with fun and class before their college adventure begins. While losing the previous U17 State Championship and their first loss ever to rival SCUFC 0-1 and also losing leading goalscorer Miranda Weslake to her 1st year at Clemson University, the girls embarked on a mission to enjoy their final year in the club and go out in style. While struggling to score goals in the R3PL East division the team battled to their worst ever 7th place finish in the league. However, they were able to get the formula closer to correct finishing 4th in the higher Region Premier League taking the 1st place seed into State Cup play. Playing with passion derived from their last ever home game experience at Patriots Point the team dismantled CESA 96’ Premier 10-0. Not looking to take their foot off the gas in the semifinal match, the team matched the 98’ Elite Girls score with a 6-1 win over SCUFC 96’ Palmetto II setting up their final match in SCYSA play against their fiercest rival.
The Championship match went as expected with both teams going close to scoring in a back and forth match with tons of excitement. The game was destined to finish in dramatic fashion as no other story would do. In the 90th minute, SCUFC Striker Jessica Schiffer netted off a rebounded strike to seemingly take home their 2nd strait title. However, from the ensuing kick off, captain Raymara Barreto tried to strike from midfield. While not going close to scoring a double possession was called inside the SCUFC 6 yard box setting up an indirect free kick. Augusta, GA native Caroline Smith touched it on to Raymara Barreto to hammer into the upper 90 sending the game into overtime. In 2nd overtime period it was the reverse, with Raymara Barreto sending a long free kick from midfield to the back post for “Smitty” to pressure home for the 2 to 1 victory!
The girls will be taking on familiar opposition in Lonestar (TX-S), ranked #1 in Texas South and #13 in Region 3; Arkansas Comets (AR), ranked #3 in state, and #116 in Region 3; and the Brevard Alliance (FL), ranked #3 in state and #4 in Region 3. While they will be missing key players Bri Carney (C-Wake Forest), Jillian Koves (C-Erskine), MC Bell (C-Flagler), Katie Leen (UC- College of Charleston), Ellen Hayes to injury (UC), and Lyndi Helland (UC), they will have back from her first year of college play Miranda Weslake (C-Clemson). The team has advanced to the quarterfinals in their U14 and U17 years of play and hope to advance further in their final club showing. We are tremendously proud of their accomplishments and wish them the best of luck at Regionals and in college. Other team members include: Grace Bishop (UC- Clemson), Morgan Blake (UC- Auburn), Heather Blaszak (C- Spartanburg Methodist), Jesse Dooley (C- UNC Asheville), Clarissa Gold, GK (C-Vermont), Amelia Clower (C- UNC Charlotte), Erin Moriarty (C- Presbyterian), and Devin Donaldson (UC- Clemson). The team is coached by Kian Brownlee and Chloe Zmolek.