Excerpts taken from SYLSoccer.com
Although Tuesday's final ultimately didn't produce the desired outcome, the U16 Northern Virginia Majestics walk away from their fourth Super Y-League (SYL) North American Finals with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. For the third year in a row, the young Majestics advanced out of the group stage of the tournament and into the playoff rounds, including two back-to-back appearances in the final match.
Led every year of their existence by head coach Jimmy Toms, the upstart squad has qualified for the SYL Championships each year since the U12 level in 2012. The U16 Majestics fell just short of the 2015 title as the Washington Spirit Academy edged them out 1-0 courtesy of a late goal in the waning moments of the match.
Northern Virginia opened the game brightly, and both Imani McGee and Samantha Gordon came close to opening the scoring early. Jackson had Washington’s first good chance in the 20th minute as she hit a turning shot from the right side of the penalty area to the near post, but the goalkeeper saved well.
For the most-part, though, the defenses remained on top. While McGee often threatened for Northern Virginia down the flank, Ella Callahan was solid in goal for Washington as she claimed numerous crosses into her penalty area, and made a good save to keep the game scoreless 10 minutes into the second half when Kristina Toms fired a shot from distance that was headed to the top-right corner.
The Majestics’ short bench took a toll late on, however, as the side was out of substitutions when a player was forced from the game with injury. Down a player, Northern Virginia still remained dangerous as it looked to take the lead, but it also meant the side was susceptible to the counterattack. As the game drew to a close, the Spirit Academy did just that and made their advantage count.
With the time ticking down between two fierce rivals, Spirit Academy’s Camryn Taylor found a way to break the deadlock before the game went to overtime. In the final minutes of play, Taylor was in the right place at the right time as a cross from the left drifted through the crowded goal mouth and dropped to allow Taylor to finish into the right corner.
“That’s a great team,” Spirit Academy Coach George Hales said. “We play them often, and we have a lot of respect for them, and we always have close matches. We wish those girls well, it was an unfortunate injury.”
The U16 Majestics finished as the SYL National Finalist in 2014 as well, falling 1-0 to their sister team Annadale United Majestics.