A number of locals have made it to the semifinal stages of the U.S. Youth Soccer Midwest Region II Championships in Appleton, Wisconsin, which take place today (Tuesday).
They include Javanon ’94, a team featuring southern Indiana trio Jordan Vejar, Matt Kelecy and Nick Blackwell, and two time national finalist, Javanon ’92, which has amongst its ranks Jeffersonville’s Trevor Bruner.
Javanon ’94 got off to a great start in the preliminary stages of the U17 age group when seeing off Chicago Fire Jnrs. North Red 4-1.
It got better on Sunday as they overcame Cleveland FC of Ohio by a 5-2 scoreline. With the scores tied 2-2 at the half, Javanon proved too strong in the second period thanks to a Neil Henley hat-trick, enabling them to gain revenge for a loss to Cleveland in the Midwest Regional League earlier in the season.
And yesterday, they got the point they needed to ensure progress when tying 4-4 with Eastern Iowa United. Henley bagged another to make him tournament top scorer with six.
Vejar (Jeffersonville), Kelecy (Floyd Central) and Blackwell (New Albany) will now take on defending Region II champion Grand Rapids Crew of Michigan today in the semifinal.
The boys lost 2-1 to Crew in the MRL earlier in the year, but were down a number of starters that day and are confident of reversing the result to knock out the holders.
Meanwhile, Javanon ’92 and Trevor Bruner are still on course for regional title number three after wins against Green Bay of Wisconsin (2-0), Indiana Invaders (2-1) and St Louis Scott Gallagher (2-0) in the U19 section.
The seven-time state champs take on KCFC Spartans of Kansas today.
The two boys’ teams will be joined in the semifinals by Javanon’s U14 girls and Mockingbird U18 girls, who also came out on top in their respective brackets.
Others from the area, including multi-state winning champions, didn’t fare so well, just to prove how difficult the Region II championships are.
Mockingbird ’94, a team comprising Floyd Central High School trio Taylor Patty, Rebekah Burgan and Lauren Haley, as well as Providence’s Casey Marlin, lost to Ohio Elite, KCFC Heat o f Kansas and NSA Premier Fury of Illinois, but the girls have had a good season overall, adding the Midwest Regional League First Division (White) title to its state crown.
“Winning the Kentucky state title and attending the Region II tournament has been a goal of mine since I began playing at Mockingbird six years ago,” said Rebekah Burgan. “I am very proud of what our team has accomplished in one season.”
Floyd Central’s Kady O’Farrell and Providence’s Leah Mattingly are part of Javanon ’95, four-time state cup winners. The girls lost narrowly 3-2 to Minnesota Thunder, before going down to Nebraska’s Toro SC and KCFC Force of Kansas.
Another who traveled to Wisconsin was New Albany’s Kaitlin Robinett, a member of five-time state champion Mockingbird ’92. The girls lost out to Iowa Rush, Toro SC of Nebraska and Internationals of Ohio.
The U.S. Youth Soccer Midwest Region II Championships feature U13 to U19 boys’ and girls’ teams from 14 state associations, including Indiana and Kentucky. Semifinal matchups will be held today (Tuesday), and champions will be crowned following final games tomorrow.
Regional winners from U14 through U19 age groups earn a berth to the national championships, which will be held in Phoenix, Ariz. from July 26-31.