The Oak Park-River Forest Strikers U18 girls played well at the Cocoa Expo college showcase soccer tournament in Cocoa Beach, Fla., last month finishing with one victory and one tie in three games against a strong national field.
The Strikers defeated Massachusetts Cheetah 3-0 on goals by Jenny Donley, Cynthia Trefilek and K.C. Gies and lost to the Florida Fusion 2-0.
But the highlight was a defensive masterpiece in a 0-0 tie against the TSC (Maryland) Thunder, a perennial national power which won its other four games with ease to take the tournament championship.
Strikers sweeper Amanda Corcos, goalkeeper Anya Twillie and holding midfielder Gillian Sullivan-Bing frustrated the Thunder by shutting down the middle of the field, while backs Larissa Gasinski, Molly McGinnis and Cassie Wilson controlled the outside lanes. Donley just missed a potential game-winning shot by driving the rebound of a Hali Schwartz cross off the crossbar.
Tournament standouts included forwards Ana Pappageorge and Colleen Harmon and midfielders Mel Becchi, Alison Colucci, Eleni Nikols and Debbie Marder.
Steve Mort, a renowned English college coach, flew in from Manchester, England to coach the team, and was assisted by Daniel Corcos. Although soccer was the focus of the trip, the girls also visited the beach and nearby Disney World on their off day.
The team consists of players from OPRF, Trinity, Elmwood Park and Bartlett High Schools.