UNDEFEATED HAWKS WIN U10 A1 DIVISION TITLE!
May. 24, 2012
Sunday, May 20 – With Qwest Ignition getting tied 1-1 earlier in the day by the LUFC Wildcats, the Freebird Hawks had already clinched the U10 A1 girls division even before stepping foot on the field in their season-ending game. However, Coach Duke chose to keep that news to himself (and to a few Hawks parents), as he hoped the Hawks would finish the season strong. The team did play well, though not quite well enough to overcome a fired-up opponent and inconsistent refereeing. The result was a 2-2 tie against the Futura Galaxy, which still left the Hawks as the undefeated Queens of the A1 division!
Though they completely dominated the first half, spending the majority on the Galaxy side of the field, the Hawks just couldn’t break the seal on the Galaxy goal. With the enormous goal boxes and short goals of the Tiffany Springs field, it made it difficult for the Hawks to find that go-ahead goal. The Hawks had a chance late in the half when a pass up ahead and into the box was clearly stopped by a Galaxy handball. However, the referee on that side refused to call it, and the half ended deadlocked.
In the second half, the Hawks finally got on the scoreboard, as the dynamic duo of Olivia and McKenzie hooked up once again. McKenzie sent a beautiful pass ahead to Olivia, who sent a left-footed blast past the keeper to make it 1-0. A few minutes later, another nice combination set up the second goal, as Malia sent a lovely left-footed cross through the hole in the Galaxy defense. Mikayla ran swiftly on to the ball and finished strong, making it 2-0.
The score remained that way for a long time, thanks in large part to defender Alivia, who was at the top of her game. Her fellow defenders, Arlee and Lauren H (filling in for an absent Delaney) both played very well, but Alivia stood out by doing an exceptional job of sticking Galaxy forwards and fielding Galaxy punts.
Late in the game, the Galaxy set up for a long free kick. The Hawks did a poor job of defending the free kick, and the shooter kicked it straight into a huge hole to cut the lead to 2-1. Still, the Hawks pushed on, looking to increase the lead. Dylan made some plays up front, sliding ahead some really nice passes. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t find the back of the Galaxy net.
With about 30 seconds left, a Galaxy player blasted a ball from close range at Alivia, who was about a foot inside the huge goal box (but probably closer to midfield than the Hawks goal). The ball bounced off her arm, which was clearly against her body and in a defenseless position. No matter; the referee on that side blew his whistle for a handball. A penalty kick was awarded, and though Kirsten made a valiant dive, the shot scored to tie the game at 2-2.
Second later, the final whistle blew. Coach Duke asked for an explanation on the handball that wasn’t called in the box in the first half. The referee explained that the hand of the Galaxy player was against her body, so he let it go. Coach Duke disagreed with that, and then he asked if Alivia’s arm was also against her body on that final handball call. Not surprisingly, he didn’t get an answer.
Regardless, Coach Duke was extremely proud of the team’s division title, and for all their hard work and effort all season long. News came out later that Qwest Ignition had lost their final game that Sunday, 2-0 to Futura Intesa. Coincidentally, a U10 Qwest team had vital games in Division 1 of the Heartland league around the same time as both the Ignition’s tie against LUFC and loss to Intesa. One might suspect that Ignition’s top players, who were there for the 5-5 tie against the Hawks, chose to play in Heartland for those final two Ignition games. Of course, it’s only speculation, but what’s clear is that the U9 Freebird Hawks are champions of the U10 A1 division. The girls should be very proud of this great accomplishment!
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