The third day of the tournament started out with the ends of the group stages for the Championship and Premier conferences. In Champions, Ball State Cardinals, BORP Crushers, DASA MO Rush, and PRHC Chariots came into the day with perfect records. The Cardinals, led by former Turnstone player, Lexi Heer, would stay perfect with wins against the Northeast Passage Wildcats, and DASA MO Rush and secured the number one seed in their group. On the other side it came down to a matchup between BORP and PRHC. The Crushers had only moved up to Champions this past year after winning Presidents in 2017. In an early test of their worthiness in the higher conference, they came out victorious, defeating the Chariots 2 to 1!
At the same time as the BORP/PRHC faceoff was a similar matchup in Premier between 2-0 Minnesota Magic and 2-0 RHI Sudden Impact. It was just as closely contested but it was decided by penalty kicks. RHI got the scoring started early with a successful penalty taken by Katie Dickey. They would go on to score another in the first half, keeping the Magic attack of Riley Johnson and Lindsay Muench in control. Johnson would get on the board in the second half only by way of another penalty but that was all they were allowed.
Back in the Presidents and Founders Conferences all that was left to be decided were the champions and final positioning. The Presidents final came down to the Arizona Heat and the Chippewa Valley Hooligans. The Hooligans went undefeated on the first two days (beating the Heat on day 1) and hoped to continue that trend. Arizona came out firing on all cylinders with a strong attack from veteran, Gabe Trujillo. Arizona got on the board first and finished the first half 4-2. The Hooligans pushed back, tied it up at four and proceded to trade goals until it was tied at 6 with just a few minutes left. Despite pressure from the Hooligans, the Heat were able to score two quick goals. With strong defense at the end of the second half, Arizona secured an 8-6 victory and a Presidents Conference title!!
In the final round of matchups for the day, the last two standing Founders teams, San Jose Flash and Central Valley Ghostriderz, faced off for the title. This was the Flash’s first national tournament as they are a young and growing team. Fittingly, they are led by nine-year-old Michael Rayton (who drives a StrikeForce which looks ten sizes too big). Immediately from the opening kickoff, it was clear that Rayton was too much for the Ghostriderz to handle. He drove his team down the court early with superb passing to and from his teammates giving the Flash a 1-0 lead which they held throughout the first half. After some continued pressure, the Ghostriderz tied it up with their fellow Californians, but the tie was short-lived. Less than three minutes later, Michael Rayton scored the game-winning and Founders Conference-winning goal off of a perfect corner kick by #21 Alejandro Aguirre. The Flash squad held off the Ghostriderz for the last few hurried attacks to claim the trophy!!
Make sure to keep following along here, on all of our social media pages, and on the PowerSoccerShop.com livestream!! Champions and Premier knockout rounds coming tomorrow!!