Iowa Rush U13 Girls and U14 Girls were crowned Iowa State Cup Champions this past weekend at Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines. Both teams played tremendously well through the tournament, both advancing out of their group play after the Memorial Day weekend round robin games.
The U13 Girls faced JUSC in their Saturday semi-final match and played to 1-1 draw during regulation and overtime, ultimately leading to penalty kicks to decide the winner. After twelve rounds of kicks from the mark, Iowa Rush advanced over JUSC to face the only opponent to bring Rush a loss in the round robin, VSA. The girls prevailed in the final game on Sunday with a 2-1 victory over VSA to secure their trip to the US Youth Region 2 Championship Tournament. Head Coach Danielle Oswald-Thole stated, "I am extremely proud of the way our players competed at this weekend's state cup tournament. We were organized in the back, battled in central midfield, and created countless great opportunities up front. The girls played with a lot of energy and displayed the type of mentality it takes to win in a big game. They definitely earned the opportunity to represent Iowa at Regionals and are looking forward to the challenge."
The U14 Girls also faced JUSC in their Saturday semi-final match and won with a decisive 3-0 finish at the final whistle. The other semi-final in the age group saw West Des Moines defeat CRSA, setting up for a re-match of last year's State Cup final. Iowa Rush came out strong and played steady throughout the entire match, finding the back of the net in the second half to take the lead 1-0. Additional opportunities came for both teams, but West Des Moines would fail to score and Iowa Rush would take home the championship once more. This summer marks their second trip to the US Youth Region 2 Championship Tournament and Head Coach Paul Fabry remarked, "We are extremely excited this group of girls once again displayed their high class of technique and tactical understanding to take home another championship. After last year's trip to Regionals, we knew the team had the ability to win Iowa State Cup again and wanted to prepare them for that task, but as well prepare them to compete for the regional level with more in their arsenal. With their already strong ability to attack, and exceptional defensive efforts in having not given up a goal in the last two tournaments, the group is prepared to take on the next challenge."
The U13 and U14 Girls will join the Iowa Rush U17 and U18 Girls who won their respective age group State Cup Championships in the fall. As four teams will be heading to Dayton, Ohio this summer, this has set the record for Iowa Rush in the number of teams attending the US Youth Region 2 Championships in one year. Well done to all the groups and best of luck in your preparation for Regionals!