Local athletes lead Lady Hounds to national title
Several area athletes helped the Pittsburgh Riverhounds U-15 girls win a national soccer championship.
The Lady Hounds edged the West Coast Wild of California, 2-1, in the finals played in Aurora, Colo., and captured the U.S. Club Soccer National Championship. The triumph avenged a first-round loss to the Wild, 5-3, in the opening round of action in the Under 15 girls’ Super Group division.
The Lady Hounds followed with a 2-2 tie with Wolfpack SC 97 before slipping past the Arizona Aresenal 98 Premier Teal team, 3-2, to set up the rematch with the Wild, which went undefeated in pool play.
The loss was also the second in two years for the Wild, which had reached the finals in 2012. But this time, the defeat came at the hands of a first-year team from Pittsburgh, which was referred to as a ‘pilot program’ only 11 months earlier.
The win over the Wild featured plenty of adversity from which the Lady Hounds overcame. Injuries called upon Lauren Toth of Bethel Park to help anchor the back line along with South Fayette’s Carli Chiatto. Later in the 53rd minute, Toth had to fill a different role. When goalkeeper Emma Bruno of Bethel Park came out to close down an onrushing striker, the ball redirected off her hands just outside of the 18-yard box, leading the referee to issue a red card. With the send-off, the Lady Hounds had to play short-handed for the duration of the game and Toth suited up as the stand-in goalie.
In addition to Toth, Chiatto and Bruno, the Lady Hounds also featured the talent of area standouts such as Maddi Santo from Peters Township, Katie Banbury from Upper St. Clair, Jayna Fittipaldo of South Fayette and Leah Memmo from Bridgeville.
The team also showcased the skills of Mikayla Mance, who recorded a tournament high eight goals in four games.
Other players to contribute to the win in Colorado were: Brittany Palla, Eliza Cochran, Jessica Moore, Kaitlyn Snyder, Micayla Livingston, Kylie Manuppelli, Shawna Zaken, Megan Herr, Morgan Treser, Ciara Terabasso and Maggie Coulson.
The team, which was the first-ever full-time youth team sanctioned under the Pittsburgh Riverhounds for annual training and competition, also benefited from the play of Olivia Cotter, Nicolette Casarcia, Julianna Sandford, Megan Aller, Elaina Walnoah, Marisa Dezorzi, Amanda Kalin, Ashlyn Whipple throughout a season that ended with a stellar record of 18-2-5.
Besides the national championship, the Lady Hounds won titles at the Bethesda Shootout in Md., Triangle Friendlies in North Carolina, Ultimate Cup in Virginia and Crossroads of America College Showcase in Indiana. The team also won the regular season and league championships in the Atlantic Soccer League.