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GU10-Forrest Girls Win 1st Place at Apricot Jam
Girls Under-10 Team Forrest, the Santa Monica Saints Over-Here, swept the table May 1 at the Apricot Jam (Silver Division) to take home the winner's trophy. This is a team that came within a point of playing in the medal bracket at Locomotion earlier in the season, and which has earned a reputation of "bringing it" to tournament play. This includes the 10-game Palos Verdes league, where despite the challenge of playing first-pick teams in the Gold Division every week, they never quit on a game and thrived on adversity.
Now among genuine peers at Moorpark, the girls opened with a 5-0 win against a Malibu team that played much better in the afternoon. Aliya Lerner-Sinsheimer scored in the first minute, and the girls ran away with the game. They followed that with a hard fought win against a Van Nuys team 4-3, in which they never trailed but were often tied. Conditions were very tough - Santa Ana's blowing hard, hot sun and 30% humidity. The girls kept their focus, and notched the win. Aliya, Raquel Head, Bailey Flanders & Sabrina Kardashian put the ball in the net for the Saints during Saturday's games.
Next morning, Coaches Forrest & Jerry DiRienzo were looking at a booked place in the trophy game. Conditions were hot and windy again, and the team stepped out early to meet a Camarillo team for the last round of pool play. This was a tough opponent, and an excellent set-up for the later game. After falling behind 0-1, the girls pulled it back to 1-1, and settled matters at 2-1 late in play. Once again, tough defence from Lucy Sherman, Isabel Flanders & Sabrina Kardashian left few openings to an opponent that threw everything at them. The game was played in a spirit of great sportsmanship, reflected in warm compliments from the Camarillo players after the game.
And so to the Championship game where a super-fast pitch combined with hot, windy & dry conditions. The girls faced an athletic and physical Newberry Park team. A 0-0 score at half-time tells the story - it was back & forth, both teams strong in the challenge, but finding it tough to string plays together. Shortly after half-time, a tough penalty decision put the Saints back on their heels, and down 0-1. Did they quit? Not today. Rotating in to midfield, Bella DiRienzo, Anya Sturm & Sabrina helped to hold the line, while Molly McGee and Raquel ran down every loose ball. Solid in goal, Harper Smith kept us in it for the second day, even shaking off an injury to play a quarter of stout defense in the back line. With only two minutes of regulation left, Anya Sturm punted big upfield, the ball broke for Aliya, and with her signature skill & composure, she found the back of the net.
Overtime was played in truly brutal conditions, and the girls gave it their all. Aliya & Bailey pushed hard for chances up front, but it was not to be. To penalties, then, to decide the match. Bella, Aliya, Sabrina & Lucy stepped up and scored with aplomb. A Newberry girl missed, and there was Anya to strike home that last penalty, and to put the trophy firmly in the Saints' hot and exhausted hands - the final score 1-1 (5-3). Coaches, parents & fans of this team salute these girls - they play above themselves, they play fair, and they are a credit to Santa Monica and their Region. Go Saints!!