Last weekend was the boys’ turn to head down to the Nations Capital Cup, and like the girls a week earlier, the Riverhounds Development Academy teams brought home some gold.
The 2001/02, 2007 and 2008 Boys teams all won their division at the tournament in Northern Virginia, and each managed to claim the top spot in slightly different fashion.
For the 01/02 side, the championship game was a bit of revenge against in-state rival Penn FC. The Harrisburg club won 3-1 in the group stage meeting between the sides, but the final was a different story.
Matt VanKirk scored the opening goal off the rebound of a Giuseppe Croce effort, but Penn FC pulled level from a set piece. Austin Rocke drew a penalty and converted for the eventual game-winner, and Groce added a third goal while the defense stayed strong to mirror the first meeting’s score, 3-1, and flip it to the Hounds’ favor.
The 07 Boys started their Sunday slow by falling behind in a semifinal against McLean (Va.) before going on to win 4-1 on goals by Nicolas Squeglia, JJ Vozar, Milo Chiu and Garrett Chandler. That set up an excellent final matchup with SAC/BA Pre-Academy (Md.), who had beaten the Hounds during group play.
The Hounds had the better of play in the final, and RDA center back Daniel Moya did an excellent job handing the opponent’s talented top striker. Still, the match ended as a 1-1 draw, sending the final to penalty kicks.
The winning kick was delivered by Justin Walsh, but not without a good deal of drama, as his deciding kick struck the crossbar, the ground and the goalkeeper’s chest before bouncing over the line.
As for the 08 Boys, they managed to finish unbeaten at 3-0-1, but they were tested throughout the tournament with group stage scores of 2-1, 1-1 and 2-1 to finish first. The team finally got the shutout they were working for in the final, as they knocked off FC USA (Md.), 2-0, to hoist the trophy.
There was ECNL action for the RDA’s girls teams, as the Hounds traveled to Ohio for a pair of road matches for each team.
No side came away better than the 2005 Girls, who grabbed all six points in the Buckeye State with wins over Columbus-area Ohio Premier, 5-1, and Cincinnati-area Ohio Elite, 2-1. Ava Boyd scored twice in each game, and Minah Syam, Reagan Casper and Samantha Braden also scored in the Saturday win. Needing to keep out a strong Ohio Elite side, Casper and defensive partner Sophia Spatafore were excellent to help secure the one-goal win on Sunday.
Sunday, Nov. 17
In ECNL matches in West Chester Twp., Ohio:
• The 05 Girls are the weekend's big winners. They completed the Buckeye State trip with all six points after knocking off Ohio Elite SA, 2-1. Ava Boyd scored on each side of halftime to provide the offense, while the defense was excellent, led by commanding performances from Reagan Casper and Sophia Spatafore.
• Refusing to go home empty handed were the 03 Girls, who claimed a convincing road win over Ohio Elite, 4-1. Emily Kirkpatrick scored with a strike from the edge of the box, Honora Armfield added a goal, and Sarah Schupansky struck twice to finish with three goals for the weekend.
• Locked in a scoreless match at halftime, the 06 Girls missed their chance to steal a point with some sloppy defending that allowed Ohio Elite to take a 3-0 win.
• The scoreline reflected the 01/02 Girls' lack of players, as the Hounds played with 10 players for most of the match and nine players for the final 15 in an 8-0 loss to Ohio Elite.
At the Nations Capital Cup in Fairfax, Va.:
• The first trophy hoisted by the Hounds on the day went to the 08 Boys, who topped FC USA (Md.) in the championship game, 2-0. The matchup nearly didn't happen, however, as the RDA side needed to scrape through with a 2-1 win over the Baltimore Union Select to ensure they would finish atop the group and reach the final.
• The 01/02 Boys turned the tables on Penn FC, avenging a group stage loss by taking the championship game by the same score, 3-1. The Hounds booked the rematch by winning in a rout earlier in the day, topping Adam Godwin SA (Va.) by a 7-2 count.
• Room had to be made for another trophy in the van home when the 07 Boys finished off the day with a 2-1 win over SAC/BA Pre-Academy (Md.). The win completed a 4-0-0 weekend for the team, which included a 4-1 semifinal win over McLean (Va.).
• The 07 RDA II Boys began the day with an outside shot at the final if they could win and get some help, but the side had to settle for second in their group after a well-earned 0-0 draw against Loudoun (Va.) that saw the Hounds' back line shine.
• The 06 RDA II Boys trailed early but rallied to claim a 3-1 win over Premier AC (Va.) and finish second in their group. David Bukowski brought the teams level before halftime from a corner kick. The Hounds then took control of play after halftime, and James Jayomahan scored twice to make the team's pressure on the Premier back line pay off.
• The 09 RDA II Boys showed their potential and had a solid defensive effort in their last match of the tournament, but a pair of free kick goals by Premier AC send the Hounds to a 2-1 defeat.
• The 09 Boys faced off with Southwestern YA (Va.) in their semifinal match, and the two high-level teams finished the match with a 1-1 draw. The Hounds lost out on penalty kicks, which sent the Virginia side on to the final and, eventually, the title.
• An exciting game saw the 10 Boys finish their weekend with a 2-2 draw against Fishtown AC (Pa.). The Hounds had the majority of possession and had chances to win, and the goals from Manny Yu on a set piece and Keller Gilson finishing from a good cross at least secured a tie for the RDA.
• Playing shorthanded due to injury in their semifinal, the 04/05 RDA II Boys got a goal from Conor Morrisard but fell to FC Virginia United, 5-1.
Saturday, Nov. 16
In ECNL matches in Dublin, Ohio:
• The 05 Girls got the Hounds in the win column during the morning matches, as they toppled Ohio Premier by a 5-1 score with an outstanding overall performance. Ava Boyd scored once from the penalty spot and again from the run of play, while Minah Syam, Reagan Casper and Samantha Braden also added goals for the RDA.
• Not as fortunate were the 07 Girls, who twice held a lead but eventually fell, 4-2, to Ohio Premier. Long-range goals by Mia Deramo and Simone Sharpless put the Hounds ahead, but a strong Ohio side eventually gained control in the match.
• The 06 Girls fought hard to stick with Ohio Premier after conceding an early goal, and the teams battled beyond halftime with the one-goal margin. A soft second goal was the backbreaker for the Hounds, and Ohio Premier ran away late for a 5-0 win.
• The 03 Girls played the tightest match of the day, but the Hounds couldn't prevent Ohio Premier for rallying for a 3-2 win. Sarah Schupansky opened the scoring, and Tessa Dellarose had the RDA ahead 2-1, but the hosts leaned on set pieces to take the lead with a pair of goals from corner kicks.
• A shorthanded 01/02 Girls side knew they were up for a tough challenge, and the Hounds gave Ohio Premier too much space to operate on attack in a 4-0 defeat.
• The 04 Girls conceded twice in the early stages but grew into the game, eventually playing evenly with Ohio Premier. Audrey Bianco got the Hounds on the board with a great individual effort, but the team fell 2-1 after a claim for a penalty kick with 15 minutes to play went unanswered.
• The 01/02 Composite Girls team played well with only 11 players, but some first-half mistakes allowed Ohio Premier to open up a lead in a 4-0 loss for the Hounds.
At the Nations Capital Cup in Fairfax, Va.:
• It was a great start for the 01/02 Boys, who raced to a 4-0 win over Maryland Rush Montgomery with goals provided by Nino Civitate, Carson Smith, Anthony Rowan and Darek Panucci. Match two of the day was a tight one, but the Hounds fell against Penn FC, 3-1.
• Talk about halftime adjustments! The 09 Boys trailed by a goal at halftime of their opening match, but they would score the last five goals in a 6-2 win over McLean (Va.). Momentum stayed on their side, as the team followed that win up with a well-rounded 5-0 win over Freedom SC (Md.).
• The 04/05 RDA II Boys showed plenty of heart to win a 2-1 match against McLean. The team began with only 10 players, and injury dropped them to nine on the field, but goals by Conor Morrisard and Judah Avery clinched the win. The light numbers hurt in their second match, however, a 5-0 loss to Maryland Rush Montgomery.
• It's an unbeaten start for the 02/03 RDA II Boys, who drew their opening match with Calvert SA (Md.), 2-2, before picking up a 2-1 win over Brazilian United SA (Md.). Caleb Massie and Luke Dunn-Garcia found the net in the draw, while Phillip Iozzi had the goals in the win.
• The 07 RDA II Boys got a well-rounded performance -- good movement off the ball, solid back line play and effective finishing -- to score a 4-0 win over Lee-Mt. Vernon SC (Va.).
• The 06 RDA II Boys grabbed an early lead against Maryland Rush Montgomery, but the back line allowed two crosses to get all the way across the face of goal to let the lead slip in a loss that ended 4-1.
• The 09 RDA II Boys played well enough to win in a back-and-forth match, but two unanswered goals in the second half by FC Virginia United send the Hounds to a 3-2 loss as they wore down after the break.