The Severna Park Pride U10 girls soccer team followed up its strong league season with a tournament championship this fall.
The Pride, who are Avery Billmyer, Izzy Burleson, Claire Farley, Molly Koistinen, Rilynn Kusiak, Ella McLaughlin, Lilly Mosher, Brooke Nobleza, Audrey Smith, Harper Wallace and Keira Wittlinger, went 6-1 in the 10-team Central Maryland Short Sided League 2009 Red Division, losing only to rival Pipeline Black, which won the league at 7-0 and defeated Severna Park 3-2 on a last-minute goal; the Pride finished as league runners-up.
Severna Park’s encore to its league campaign came at the Capital Fall Classic, where the team went 4-0 and won the tournament championship. The Pride defeated four Virginia-based teams in winning the title, getting goals from McLaughlin, Farley, Koistinen, Mosher and Wittlinger and three by Burleson in outscoring the opposition by a combined 8-2 count. After winning their first two games, the Pride came from 1-0 down in the tournament semifinals against the Richmond Strikers Elite Orange, getting second-half goals by Koistinen and Mosher, with Mosher’s coming off an assist by McLaughlin, to advance to the final with a 2-1 win. In the championship game against FC Richmond 09 Navy, Burleson beat a defender and sent a shot into the net at the far post, and Wittlinger scored on a long blast to seal a 2-0 win for Severna Park.
“I think we gave it our all, and the results showed it,” Wittlinger said of the Fall Classic title. “I am very proud of us.”
The team is coached by the father-daughter duo of John Brady and Kiley Kusiak, who spoke highly of the Pride’s efforts.
“We stress work rate and effort all the time to these girls, and they worked extremely hard against tough teams from Virginia,” said Brady.
Coach Kusiak believed the team’s winning ways began on the defensive end.
“I think our constant pressure from the backline not allowing players to turn and playing good balls to our forwards helped us out this weekend,” Kusiak said.
McLaughlin said the team rose to the occasion of playing in a competitive tournament.
“The Capital Fall Classic tournament has been one of my favorites,” McLaughlin said. “Most of the time the whole team was filled with energy. I think we did a good job connecting passes in the championship game. Everyone played really hard and deserved our win.”