West Coast Wildfire Go Undefeated, Score a Trip to Nationals – The West Coast Wildfire U17G team went undefeated in U.S. Club West Regionals competition to qualify for the national tournament in Colorado later in July. Wildfire beat out Nevada, Bay Oaks, and FC Boulder to move on to nationals. Pictured is the West Coast Wildfire front row: Back row: Brianne Radliff, Mackenzie Long, Sierra Martin, Briane Torres, Amanda Zeck, Krissey Keller, and Coach Karen Dayak. Front row: Coach Adarie Dayak, Savannah Seals, Kate Wallace, Leila Anzo, Tatiana Elsea, Megan Clifton, Sara Shea, Mayzin Kung, Sydney Mendoza, and Tori Borgna. Missing are Bella Barbero, Kayla Grisham, Tyarah Trias, and Rachel McCarthy.
The West Coast Wildfire went undefeated in four games in the U.S. Club Soccer West Regionals tournament to earn a spot in the national competition to be held in Aurora Colorado in late July.
In the first game in Davis, California, Wildfire faced a visiting team Nevada. Within the first 10 minutes, Wildfire’s Tatiana Elsea scored with an assist from Rachel McCarthy. Goal two came 4 minutes later came from Midfielder Sydney Mendoza with a long shot that sailed over the Keepers fingertips. The third goal came 6 minutes later with a beautiful pass from Kate Wallace to Savannah Seals. Sierra Martin scored another two right be half to make the score 5-0. As the second half got underway, Tori Borga crossed to Tatiana Elsea for goals 6. McCarthy got goals 7 unassisted, and Sara Shea passed to Kayla Grisham for goal 8. Nevada didn’t know what hit them, the match ended 8-0 Wildfire.
The second game was against long time rival, Bay Oaks. Wildfire’s Megan Clifton scored first from a pass from Borgna. Bay Oaks managed to get one back to go 1-1 at the half. In a good passing battle, the second half went scoreless until the 70 minute. Wildfire’s Isabella Barbero sent a perfectly placed corner kick to the middle of the box where Martin pulled off a flick over her back to place the ball into the net. Wildfire moved ahead 2-1 to win the match.
In game 3, Wildfire faced a physically big team from Boulder, Colorado. FC Boulder scored first by executing off a nice pass to their right wing. Wildfire could not answer through the rest of the first half. The second half started slow but Wildfire adjusted to ramp up the offensive attack. With numerous shots on goal, one was bound to go in. With one minute remaining in the match, Martin connected on a loose ball on the left side of the goal to tie the match. Game 3 ended in a 1-1 draw.
The two top point earners, Wildfire and FC Boulder, moved on to the fourth and final game. The winner would win a chance to compete at Nationals. Knowing FC Boulder would put up a good fight, Wildfire showed up ready win. At the whistle, Wildfire attacked first with a few shots on goals but couldn’t sink any. As both teams tried to find a rhythm, the game quickly turned into a battle in the midfield. Wildfire’s Amanda Zeck, Mayzin Kung, Martin, and Mendoza took control in the middle forcing Boulder to the outside where Wildfire’s defensive line of Seals, Clifton, Shea, Leila Anzo, Bri Torres, and Krissy Keller disrupted plays and picked off runners. The few shots on goal by Boulder were deflected by Wildfire Keepers Mackenzie Long, and Brianne Radliff. With 20 minutes remaining in the second half, Wildfire finally executed on an offensive play. Wildfire’s Zeck stole a ball from a Boulder Forward and distributed it to Borgna making a run down the right side of the field. Borgna sent a perfectly placed crossed into the middle of the box where Kate Wallace headed the ball toward the left side of the goal. The ball was deflected by Boulder’s Keeper into the path of Clifton who cleaned up from the left and scored the only goal of the match. Wildfire moved ahead 1-0 and claimed the victory.
With one summer tournament championship under their belt, the Wildfire now focus on a few upcoming college showcases including the Davis Legacy College Showcase and Surf Cup, and the U.S. Club Soccer National tournament.