Ajax United’s unstoppable offense was led by outside midfielders Emma Linney, Shania Dean and Sumni Da Silva, who consistently delivered beautiful crossing passes that forwards Devyn Gilfoy, Toni Melissare and Julie Tapia converted into shots on goal.
The most memorable goal of the season came against Diablo Football Club on a cross from the left corner from Linney that arced over the Dibalo goalkeeper and was drilled into the net just inside the right post on a header from Dean. Such combinations left opposing goalkeepers little chance of stopping Ajax United’s offensive barrage.
It’s said that soccer games are won or lost in the middle, and Ajax United’s midfield – led by midfielders Delanie Sheehan and Lauren Sisneros – was no exception. Opposing players were rarely able to get the ball past Sheehan and Sisneros’ midfield blockade all season. On offense, the girls were just as fierce, delivering precision passes to the outside or occasionally threading a direct pass down the middle to Gilfoy to spring a breakaway.
Ajax United’s scant four goals-against was the result of a total team effort. On the rare occasion that an opposing team advanced the ball past mid-field, defenders Robyn McCarthy and Lynzie Hudson were there waiting. They were assisted by outside defenders Carolyn Buxton, Kara Rainsford and Kyleen Nelson, who nullified opposing teams’ perimeter threats. In goal, Cailyn Stanley and Michaela Vanderklugt were nearly flawless, turning away the rare corner, free or penalty kick they faced and stopping the even more scarce shot on goal.
Following their successful NorCal fall season, the Ajax girls are off to compete in the NorCal State Cup championship tournament in January. In the preliminary rounds of this tournament, the Ajax girls have gone 3-0-1, scoring 19 goals while giving up only two. This has earned them a berth in the U12 girls top 24 bracket – the highest level of play in Nor Cal Premiere Soccer.