Local U11 girls soccer team wins championship

The U11 North Ridgeville girls soccer travel team players include: front row (L-R): Kiarra Smyczek, Alanna Skinner, Alyssa Erny, Danielle Blagojevic, April Arbour, Alysson Hassler. Back row: Coach Dan Blagojevic, Frankie Carson, Marley Kalata, Emma Lampe, Catrina Engel, Julie Petro, Emma Lampe, Rachel Spurlock, Coach Jeff Hassler.

North Ridgeville

North Ridgeville’s U11 girls travel soccer team won the 2010 Medina Mist Championship, after going 2-0-1 in tournament play.

The team started the tournament by defeating Wooster by a score of 2-0. They went on to finish in a 2-2 tie against Ontario and then defeated Parma by a score of 7-1.

These games landed the team in first place in their division, earning them a spot in the championship game. They took on Ontario in the championship, the team they had previously tied.

The team picked up the championship victory on a game-winning goal by Danielle Blagojevic. She secured the winning shot unassisted, with less than three minutes left.

“They never stopped attacking the goal and played great defense,” North Ridgeville coach Dan Blagojevic said. “They showed a willingness to not lose and work hard.”

The chance to play for a championship was very exciting the team. Their regular season did not go well, but they worked hard to do well in tournament play.

“I was excited for the team,” Dan Blagojevic said. “In their regular league season in the NOGSL they played eight games and went 0-8. They lost their games on average by a score of 3-1. I know the girls were ready to play to win. They were excited to be in the championship.”

According to Blagojevic, it was the team’s defensive play throughout the tournament that allowed North Ridgeville to take home the championship crown.

“We played great defense in all the games,” Dan Blagojevic said. “The best thing to see is that they played possession soccer. We controlled the ball 60-70 percent of the games and gave the opposition less time to have the ball to score.”

North Ridgeville also came through in the clutch, scoring its goals at important times. These goals usually sealed the game for the team.

“We scored goals at crucial times,” Dan Blagojevic said. “Game one versus Wooster was won on a game winner by Kiara Smyczek with three minutes left in the game. In the second game vs. Ontario, we scored the tying goal with five minutes left in the game.”

Danielle Blagojevic led the team in scoring, with seven goals in three games and four assists. Alyssa Erny was goalie in three of the games and had many crucial saves.

While the team was impressive during the entire tournament, they were especially strong in the championship game.

“They played with a lot of heart,” Dan Blagojevic said. “They played with a lot of discipline. They did well passing the ball and had great team defense. We had about six corners and scored the game winner from a corner kick.”

After such a strong showing in tournament play, Dan Blagojevic believes the girls will only see more success in the future.

“It’s definitely just a stepping stone,” Dan Blagojevic said. “It’s great for whatever the girls decide to do at the travel level.”

Also participating on the team was April Arbour, Kiarra Smyczek, Allyson Hassler, Rachel Spurlock, Alanna Skinner, Catrina Engel, Kennedy Claudio, Marley Kalata, Emma Lampe, Julie Petro, and Frankie Carson. Jeff Hassler helped coach the team.

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