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June 26, 2013 — U-16 Final: Tokyo 5, Nagano 1

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Since the start of the U-16 National Futures Tournament last Sunday, there was rampant speculation as to which team was going to wind up the strongest of the 16 teams, which, as has been the case the last few years, were not organized according to Futures region.

Lots of attention was focused on Lillehammer after pool play, a team which led in team goals scored. There were whispers about how good Nagano was playing in the crossover rounds, although they had to go to the sixth round of a penalty-stroke shootout in order to get to the U-16 final.

But in a championship final which featured two second-place pool teams, it was Tokyo which finished strongest, running out 5-1 winners over Nagano. Tokyo got off to a good start thanks to a pair of Maryland products; Emily Thomas of Edgewater South River (Md.) and Andi Weinberg of Baltimore Roland Park (Md.).

“Getting off to a good start is important to get a head start on the other team,” Thomas said. “Getting that first goal propelled us to go further, to get more goals.”

Thomas is a second-generation field hockey player; her mother played at Severna Park (Md.) for the legendary Lil Shelton.

“My mother told me that she was a very encouraging head coach for her,” Thomas said. “I was sad I didn’t get to play for her, even though I’m not in the district she was coaching, but she seemed like a good coach.”

In the second half, Tokyo stretched its advantage. Sophia Tornetta, an attacking midfielder of great skill and promise, scored a glorious backhand to give her side a 3-0 lead. Though the team then had to endure a proximity goal by Katelyn Cummings and three sin-bin suspensions, it was able to spring Richmond Monacan (Va.) product Danielle Gilmore for a pair of late goals to form the final score.

FULL TIME At the horn, Tokyo wins the gold with a 5-1 score

49:00 TOK PC Gilmore gratefully deposits the cross and Tokyo surely has secured the result; the lead is 5-1

47;00 TOK GOAL Danielle Gilmore gets a clever through pass from Belden and scores; Tokyo has a 4-1 lead

45:00 Tokyo played really well 9-on-11 and the time is ticking away for Nagano

42:30 TOK YELLOW Victoria Stapleton is now off for five minutes; the refs are handing out yellow cards like speeding tickets at the Indy 500

41:00 NAG PC Cummings’ shot is saved by Johnson

40:00 TOK YELLOW Natalie Belden off for five minutes

39:00 TOK GREEN Thomas off for two minutes

33:00 NAG PC An option left is buried by Katelyn Cummings; Tokyo maintains a 3-1 lead

32:00 NAG PC Saved by Chloe Johnson!

28:00 TOK GOAL Sophia Tornetta, cool as you like, raps a backhander to give Tokyo a 3-0 lead

25:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME The horn goes with Tokyo leading 2-0

24:00 NAG PC Ends on a bad set

23:00 TOK GOAL Andi Weinberg somehow bunts in a hip-high ball and Tokyo leads 2-0

13:00 TOK PC AND GOAL The hi-lo to Emily Thomas works to perfection; Tokyo leads 1-0

11:00 Caroline Andretta’s backhander skims the post!

9:00 TOK PC Hannah Ackers’ shot is saved

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Tokyo is in the white with red numerals, Nagano is in the blue with white numbers

PREGAME The teams are warming up under a sunny sky with the temperature at 88 degrees

PREGAME The Nagano result broke up a pretty good storyline. If Sarajevo had won the game; a set of twins would have been in the final — one on each team. Genevieve and Adelaide Penzone are from Powell, Ohio and their high school does not have field hockey; they train on their own and with Steve Boniface’s Coyotes club side. As things stand, only Adelaide (who plays for Tokyo) has a chance at the gold medal. Genevieve (who plays for Sarajevo) is fighting for the bronze

PREGAME Nagano, for its part, needed a 3-2 penalty-stroke shootout win over Sarajevo to win its way into the final.

PREGAME Tokyo made the championship final with a 1-0 win over Beijing

PREGAME Hello, and welcome once again to the National Training Center for the U-16 championship final between Tokyo and Nagano

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