A full weekend of Riverhounds Development Academy (RDA) action included plenty of matches at home, as the club's ECNL girls teams hosted two top clubs from Tennessee at Montour Junction in Coraopolis. While wins weren't easy to come by, there were more than a few impressive performances over the two match days.
The 02 Girls came away with a 2-2 draw Saturday against Tennessee SC, a club with teams in multiple age groups challenging for the top spot in the Ohio Valley Conference. Melissa Riggins and Taylor Hamlett staked the Hounds to a 2-0 lead, but the visitors battled back to share the points.
On Sunday, the 03 Girls were the ones pulling off a comeback against FC Alliance. The Hounds fell behind during a sloppy first half, but Tessa Dellarose and Tatum Gretz were on target after the break to give the RDA a 2-1 win. The 04 Girls, meanwhile, put up a stout defensive showing against FC Alliance and made a first-half penalty kick scored by Londynn Gonzalez stand up as the only goal in a 1-0 win.
On the boys side of ECNL action, the 02 Boys were the big winners on the road in Auburn Hills, Michigan, as they defeated hosts Vardar SC by scores of 3-1 and 4-1 on a two-game trip. Austin Rocke had three goals total across the two games, while Luke Peperak netted two Saturday and Nino Civitate added a pair in Sunday's win.
Sunday, May 5
In ECNL girls matches in Coraopolis:
• The 03 Girls overcame a sloppy first half that led to them trailing by a goal, and Tessa Dellarose and Tatum Gretz got the needed goals to reward a much better second half with a 2-1 win over visiting FC Alliance (Tenn.).
• Londynn Gonzalez converted a penalty kick late in the first half, and that was the only goal as the RDA's 04 Girls held a solid defensive shape for the duration of a 1-0 win over FC Alliance.
• The 00/01 Composite Girls started slow and paid the price, and while they worked their way into control of the game and got a goal from Hailee Perri, the Hounds lacked the finishing touch too often in a 2-1 loss.
• The 02 Girls suffered a difficult 2-1 defeat to a last-minute FC Alliance goal. The Hounds missed a penalty kick that could have tied the game, and though Melissa Riggins eventually did bring the score to 1-1, the Hounds' inability to pull ahead when they had control of the game ended up costing them.
• The 05 Girls fell 5-1 to an FC Alliance team positioned for a top-three finish in their age group. Alexis Tylenda got the RDA goal, but a gap in physicality showed in the match.
• Also suffering losses to Sunday's visitors from Tennessee were the 00/01 Girls, 4-0, and the 06 Girls, 9-0.
In Boys ECNL matches in Auburn Hills, Mich.:
• After the 02 Boys conceded an early goal, Nino Civitate and Austin Rocke scored to put the Hounds ahead at the break. After half, it was Civitate and Rocke finding the net again to make it a 4-1 win over hosts Vardar SC.
Saturday, May 4
• The Hounds' Pro Team, a week after stealing a 2-2 draw, let a two-goal lead slip away in another 2-2 draw at the Charleston Battery. Academy coach Kevin Kerr continued his strong start to the season by becoming just the third man with 30 goals (27 USL, 3 U.S. Open Cup) as a Riverhounds player. Read all about the match HERE.
In Boys ECNL play in Auburn Hills, Mich.:
• Luke Peperak scored twice, and Austin Rocke converted from the penalty spot to give the 02 Boys a 3-1 win on the road at Vardar SC.
• The 03 Boys and 05 Boys came away with matching 2-2 scorelines against Vardar SC. Eben McIntyre and Sean Ahia scored to get the 03s a result, while Alex Hauskretch notched both goals for the 05s.
• Anders Bordoy was on target for the 04 Boys, but it wasn't enough in a 3-1 RDA loss to Vardar.
• The 00/01 Boys completed their weekend early with a 2-0 loss after falling by a 3-1 score late Friday night in the first of two matches against Vardar.
In ECNL girls matches in Coraopolis:
• The 00/01 Girls started off the action at Montour Junction against Tennessee Soccer Club, falling by a 2-1 score as Tennessee SC did a good job killing off the final minutes of the game. Addie Roman had the RDA goal on a near-post header against the second-place team in the Ohio Valley Conference.
• Other early games included a 3-0 loss by the 04 Girls and a 5-1 loss by the 00/01 Composite Girls, who got a goal from Blair Echnat but ran out of steam playing with no substitutes.
• The 02 Girls stormed out to a two-goal halftime lead, courtesy of goals by Melissa Riggins and Taylor Hamlett, but Tennessee SC stormed back in the second half and found a late equalizer to end the game as a 2-2 draw.
• The 05 Girls had a draw in sight, as well, an impressive feat against the second-place team in the conference. A penalty conceded 12 minutes from full time broke the deadlock, however, and Tennessee SC tacked on a late insurance goal for a 2-0 win.
• The 04 Girls and 06 Girls also suffered setbacks by scores of 3-0 and 9-0, respectively.
Friday, May 3
• The Riverhounds Development Academy will be one of 30 participating clubs in the inaugural USL Academy Cup next season, a competition being formed as a first step toward a full USL Academy League. For more on the new competition, read HERE.