MIFC Team Wins PacNW Tournament

 

Mercer Island FC team Wins PacNW Tournament

Mercer Island FC’s U-17 Girls Select “Maroon” team won the Premier Showcase 2 division of the PacNW Winter Classic, which was held January 12-15 based out of the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. The tournament includes top Premier and Select teams from throughout Washington State and the Greater Northwest. 

Winning two out of three matches in their group round, the team earned a spot in the semi-finals. They then defeated a Crossfire Select team to advance to the finals versus Pacific FC. In both the semis and finals, the opponent scored first and Maroon battled back to tie before the end of regulation, so both games were decided by penalty kicks, with Maroon winning the semis 6-5 after seven rounds of kicks and the finals 3-2.

Although the outcome of both knockout games was determined by penalty kicks, Maroon actually controlled and dominated play in each match with a significant majority of possession and many more chances than their opponents. Head Coach Tom Hill noted that “this was very much a whole team effort, including solid goalkeeping; staunch defending against very aggressive and athletic forwards; quick, controlled passing and link-up play among our midfielders; and clinical finishing by our forwards.”

Maroon were led in scoring by Elaina Martin, who netted a total of 9 goals over the course of the tournament. Annelise Rorem, Maroon’s goalkeeper, made numerous clutch saves. Coach Hill noted: “Huge ‘high fives’ to Annie for making the stops in goal during the kicks when we needed it most. She sealed both wins for us in the semis and finals. It was a great performance under tremendous pressure.” Hill also praised his penalty-kick takers for performing so well under pressure, in part a reflection of the fact that, prior to tournaments, the team regularly simulates penalties in practice. “We’ve practiced kicks from the mark for the last five years, and only gone to kicks in one other game that whole time. Now it’s happened twice in one day. It’s nice to see the practice pay off.”

Hill has coached MIFC Maroon since the girls were U-12. He is assisted by Steve Gest. Many of the players on the team have been playing together since the team first formed. Fourteen of the girls on Maroon’s roster also played for Mercer Island High School this fall, many contributing to the school’s state championship run.