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June 25, 2007 — U14 Final: USA North 5, USA Red 2

VIRGINIA BEACH — Mollie Reichard knew.

When the coach of the U-14 USA North Futures team received her team roster, she had coached or seen most of the players either at her Futures site or at the club level.

“I knew three-quarters of the players on the list,” said Reichard, who will be coaching at Ohio University this fall. “I knew that a lot of players played together on club teams.”

And she knew she was going to have a dominating team. The Northerners, all from Pennsylvania, won the final 5-2 over a USA Red team with players from the Delmarva region. The North took an early 2-0 lead, extended it to 3-0 on a backbreaking goal at the stroke of halftime, then was able to trade goals in the second half.

USA Red managed a fine Sydney Kirby backhand goal in the second term, but there was too much talent and physicality on the North team.

Gone are the days when the U-14s could get by with aggressiveness and a little luck; the Northerners had physical presences in all phases of the game, from 6-foot goalkeeper Ashley Beihl to forward Madison Harding, whose father Jeff played professional ice hockey for the Philadelphia Flyers.

“We seem to have a very good club system in Pennsylvania; our kids are allowed to play year round, and a lot of these kids have had older sisters or parents who played before,” Reichard said. “They’ve seen what the game of field hockey can do for them, and so they started out at an earlier age.”

In pool play, the North won all five matches, and drew a USA Red team which felt fortunate to be in the final. Heading into the final round of pool play, USA Red needed only a draw with USA East to make the championship game, but surrendered a second-half goal against the run of play. Red, less than three minutes away from losing, managed a field goal to draw the match at 1-1, thereby setting up the match with USA North.

USA North 3 2 — 5

USA Red 0 2 — 2

Barbara Longstreth Sportsmanship Award: USA North

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