Despite a barrage of shots on frame and total time-of-possession domination, the ladies of AEB got off to a slow start, drawing 0-0 against host Palo Alto.
The AEB offense, led by forwards Devyn Gilfoy, Shania Dean, Toni Melissare, Julie Tapia and Maya Lopez, caught fire in their next two matches, securing a place in the finals by beating Cal Blues Shock of Sacramento 6-1 and Mountain View/Los Altos Blue 2-0.
The AEB defense was stifling, conceding only two goals the entire tournament. Goalkeepers Caylin Stanley and Michaela Vanderklugt saw little action all weekend as defenders Lynzie Hudson, Robyn McCarthy, Kyleen Nelson, Carolyn, Buxton, Tessa Cortez, Kara Rainsford and Alyssa Liu held their opponents in check from the backfield.
Midfielders Delanie Sheehan, Emma Linney, Jessie Taylor and Lauren Sisneros played strong offense and defense, delivering the ball to the forwards with precision, and rarely allowing the opposition past midfield.
The finals pitted the AEB girls against Santa Clara Sporting Green, one of the best teams in the state. In a hard-fought, physical match, the young ladies of Ajax East Bay prevailed, taking the tournament championship 2-1 on strong defensive play and dominant ball control from the midfield.
For more information about the Ajax East Bay 99G or The Ajax East Bay Soccer Club, visit www.ajaxunitedeastbay.org.
– Contributed by Tim McCarthy