The Virginia Youth Soccer Association Border Cup tournament served its purpose for the state's under-17 girls team, which cruised to a 3-1 victory over the VISTA United under-19 squad yesterday at Tyrell Park in Woodbridge.
In the boys under-19 tournament, the local club teams got the best of their Olympic Development Program opponents. The Virginia state champion Washington Diplomats scored 25 goals in four games, finishing with an 8-3 rout of an overmatched Springfield Phoenix side in the final.
Coordinated by the Virginia ODP, the Border Cup is intended to give state teams and elite club teams top-level competition prior to regional camps and tournaments. The event originally was a boys tournament for state teams from Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.
But the Border Cup has grown in size and importance and is the only event of its kind in the United States. It attracts teams from around the mid-Atlantic area and is especially crucial for ODP teams heading to regional competition, as those players have little experience playing with each other.
The Virginia girls team went 2-0-1 in its first three games, including a 5-0 win over the under-19 ODP squad and a scoreless draw with the Maryland under-19 team.
Yesterday the Virginia team appeared more composed than the United players, most of whom have just completed their first season of college soccer, despite an age and size disadvantage.
United held a 1-0 lead at halftime despite several quality scoring chances by Virginia. But within a 10-minute span in the second half, Tara Flint (Potomac Falls High) and Molly Wilson (West Springfield) broke down United's defense.
Flint started the scoring run after collecting a cross from Jaclyn Benjamin (Oakton) and slotting the ball inside the right post.
Flint, who Virginia Coach Joe Pereira described as "multi-dimensionally skilled," felt the first goal was vital.
"We kept dominating, and we just needed to get one goal in," she said.
Wilson then gave Virginia the lead after putting two defenders down with a swift run into the penalty area and sliding the ball under United's goalkeeper.
Her dribbling exhibition continued moments later when she took the ball to the endline before curling it back to the top of the six-yard box to Flint, who softly volleyed it home.
"I was very pleased the way we dominated the ball in the second half," Pereira said.
"The key out here is to showcase their talent. We pick the very best [for the state team], and this is a great stage for them."
Nine teams of all-stars from Alexandria, Arlington and Falls Church competed in a two-day, double-elimination tournament at Four Mile Run Park in Arlington. The tournament featured four under-16 teams and five under-12 teams, and an entrant from Arlington won each of the age divisions.
The Arlington "Red" team swept all four of its games to win the under-16 championship. Kelly Landers of Gunston Middle School and Katherine Oberg of Washington and Lee High combined to retire 18 of the last 22 hitters they faced in the championship game, a 6-3 win over the Arlington "Green" team. Christie Seipp of Washington and Lee led Arlington "Red" at the plate, and Landers was named the under-16 most valuable player.
The Arlington "Red" under-12 team won its first three games to reach the championship game, lost to Arlington "Green" in the first game of the championship round, but rebounded with a 12-8 win in the second game to win the championship.
Hillary Obrand was named the MVP.
CAPTION: Tara Flint (Potomac Falls High), right, scores one of her two goals in helping her under-17 team beat an older squad to win Border Cup.