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YOUTH SOCCER: Arsenal teams perform well at Challenger Cup tournament

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The Rome YMCA’s Arsenal represented well at the Challenger Cup this weekend in Atlanta. Two teams won their division while two more lost in the finals.

The G10 won their division. In their 1st game they beat HCU 4-2. Goals came from Elise O'Neill, Lexi Day, and Teagan Bollwerk (2); with assists from Camila Laguna, Sara Ekey and Sara Jo Pierce. In their 2nd game they beat Dekalb’s Wolves Premier 4-1 with goals from Bollwerk, Oniell, Sarah Ekey (2); with assists from Laguna, Lexi Day and Caitlyn Aspera. On Sunday in their 3rd game they beat Griffin Excel White 4-2 with goals from Laguna, Bollwerk and Oniell (2). Assists came from Day, Bollwerk and Laguna. That put them in the finals with Harris County United. This game was a true nail biter with incredible saves in the last minutes by Evelyn Schlitz who proved the difference maker. She played goal all 4 games doing an miraculous job, but her two end of game saves in the championship were what closed the door on Harris. They won 2-1 with goals from Ekey and Bolwerk assisted by Day and Ekey. Arsenal got outstanding defensive performances from Laguna, Day, Oneill and Ekey. Coach Kroeger looks forward to next spring.

The G14 D finished in third place. On Saturday morning, Arsenal topped SSA Northside Gold 3-0. Lauren Akemon scored twice, while Ashley Medrano got the other goal. Medrano was assisted by sister Alexis Medrano on her goal. Akemon got assists from Ashley and Malone Christen. Deyvis Reader recorded four saves to earn the clean sheet. Arsenal fell 3-1 to eventual champion South Fulton Amazon, 3-1. Ashley Marin scored a goal to knot the game at 1-1 right before halftime. Alexis got the assist. Arsenal dropped a close contest to GA Rush Azul on Sunday morning 2-1. Akemon scored Arsenal's goal off an assist from Katelyn Clark.

The B10 lost in the finals. They beat Metro Atlanta Buckhead 6-2 on Saturday. Goals came from Kosta Pateritsas (2), Klae Theakston, Giovanni Echanique (assist Pateritsas), and Dmitri Castro (assist Echanique). They then tied Dekalb Wolves Premier 2-2 with goals from Tripp Watterson and Echanique (assist Zeke Donner). On Sunday they beat Metro Atlanta Striker Blue 6-1 to win their group and make it into the finals. Scorers were Watterson (and 2 assists), Theakston, Echanique (assist Marley Price), George Loveless, and Pateritsas (2). There they lost to FC Latinos 6-2 with goals from Theakston and Pateritsas.

The B12 won the Gold division. They defeated the Dekalb Wolves Premier 5-0. First half goals were scored by Bleu Winters, Maddox Pyle and Isaiah Johnson (both assisted by Joseph Hall). Keeper Will Payne had 2 saves. In the second half, Jacob Davis scored 2 goals (assisted by Maddox Pyle and Steven Villatoro). Keeper Jacob Fisher had 5 saves. In their 2nd game on Saturday, Arsenal shut out the Amazon Elite B06 6-0. Isaiah Johnson scored on a corner kick from CJ Acas, and followed up with a second goal assisted by Acas and Steven Villatoro. Bleu Winters got another assisted by Grant Cross. Keeper Will Payne had 5 saves. In the 2nd half, Steven Villatoro scored on a penalty kick, and earned an assist with a quick cross to Isaiah Johnson, for his 3rd goal (hat trick). Joseph Hall also scored. Keeper Jacob Fisher had 6 saves in the second half.

On Sunday they beat Piedmont 2-1. Villatoro got one goal. Acas had a goal and assist. Will Payne and Jacob Fisher split duties in goal with 7 saves. That put them in the final where they beat Piedmont again 2-1 in PKs. Villatoro got the lone goal assisted by Charlie Shaw. Payne and Fisher had 8 saves. In the Penalty Kick shootout after overtime, the goals by Hall, Pyle, Johnson, and Villatoro sealed the Championship.

The B13 IV-E lost in the finals of the Gold division. On Saturday they beat Azul 3-0 then lost to Metro Atlanta Striker Blue 2-1. On Sunday they beat the Roswell Santos Red 2-0 to qualify for a rematch with MAYS Striker Blue in the championship where they lost 1-0.