The Three Rivers girls 98 Black soccer team might not have been ready for the high-altitude in Aurora, Colo., the site of National Cup XII, the club soccer national championship.
But after a narrow 3-2 win over Libertyville (Ill.) FC to open pool play in the U-14 girls super group Thursday, you can bet that 98 Black will be tightening the screws and battening down the hatches for its next game at 8:30 a.m. today against FC Pride Elite Red.
"It took us a while to get going. There was definitely some urgency. If we didn't get a result today, the kids knew we'd probably be done," 98 Black coach Chad Bodnar said. "We didn't play our best today, but I'm proud of their effort and heart."
Three Rivers fell behind 1-0 in the first half before McKaley Goffard and Taylor Matheny combined for two goals to give 98 Black a 2-1 lead.
Goffard, a Southridge freshman-to-be, tied the score in the 40th minute off an assist from Matheny.
Five minutes later, Goffard a Hanford freshman returned the favor, assisting on a Matheny goal.
But Libertyville tied the score at 2 early in the second half, putting Three Rivers in a make-or-break situation.
However Areesa Trevino, who will attend Grandview High School in the fall, scored the go-ahead goal, knocking in a cross from Goffard with 10 minutes remaining in regulation.
Today, we could have been down 3-0. For the kids to bounce back and continue to grind, to go up 2-1 and have (Libertyville) come back to tie it ... that can take the air out of some teams, Bodnar said.
Bodnar said the high altitude may have played a role in his teams performance in the opener.
Im hoping we can adjust to the air. It looked like we were running in sand. Were trying to adapt, he said. We can build on it (today). We came back after the game and had a meeting. We talked about things we can do better.
Three Rivers will finish off pool play at 9 a.m. Saturday against Sockers FC ECNL out of Palatine, Ill.
The championship game will be played Sunday.