The Santa Monica AYSO Saints girls under 12 soccer team won first place at last weekend’s Orange County Spring Classic Soccer Tournament in Tustin/Irvine. The team, led by Coach Anton Kavanagh and Assistant Coach Chris Henrikson, competed alongside 39 other elite GU12 squads from throughout Southern California.
In first round action, goals by Jourdan Emerson and Rachel Levine bested a tough squad from Riverside 2-1. In the next game, the Saints defeated perennial powerhouse Corona del Mar 4-1 with two goals by Irene Nakono and single scores by Madeline Kresin and Trinity Gray. Gusty winds greeted day two and after falling behind a strong team from Newport Beach, the Saints battled back for a 2-2 tie (goals by Rachel Levine and Madeline Kresin). As the only team in their pool without a loss, the Saints advanced to the championship game in the afternoon.
Battling what seemed at times to be gale force winds, the Saints faced South Irvine in the final and going against the wind in the first half, Santa Monica nonetheless managed to score on a goal by Rachel Levine. Now it was the mid-field’s and defense’s turn to shut down South Irvine and bring home the championship. The Saints rose to the challenge. Mid-fielders Sophia Lynn and Naomi Miller-Altuner did a great job controlling the ball and keeping it on the opponent’s side of the pitch. Goalkeeper Sara Svec and fellow defenders Olivia Henrikson, Jourdan Emerson, Remi Godinez, Gabriella Landay and Tatum Colby blanked South Irvine’s many attacks for the 1-0 championship win.
The Orange County Spring Classic was the final event on the Saints tournament calendar as the team takes off summer with its players to resume league play in the fall. Santa Monica AYSO is the city’s largest youth league, fielding approximately 1,500 players each September-December. It includes both boys and girls and ages range from 4 to 18. Many divisions fill quickly, those who register by June 30 are guaranteed a spot on a team. A Substantial Financial Assistance Package is available for those who qualify. More information is at www.ayso20.org
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