Team picture with banner — front row: Cayla Davis, Corinne Polk-Trauman, Grace Fisher, Abby Fusca, Emma Brown, Jackie Parades, Tess Mahon Kuzin, Whitney Wiley; back row: Margaret Covey, Lilly Wilcox, Rachel McFaul, Selena Kaup, Christina LaRow, Kaitlyn Heofling, Rachel Jackson, Sam Devin, Maddie Lacroix. Not pictured: Simmi Cilluffo, Catherine Howard, Ashleigh Lockard, Abby Pogreba, Brigid Sullivan.
“This is the best team Vienna has ever had, and may ever have again.” — Coach Michel Vanderhart
U19 Girls Vienna Youth Soccer (VYS) Phoenix ‘99 had a dramatic, come-from-behind, 2-1 win over Herndon United in the Virginia Youth Soccer Association State (VYSA) Cup. This is Phoenix ‘99s second State Cup Championship in three years.
Phoenix ‘99 started strong with several unsuccessful scoring opportunities. However, Herndon gained momentum, scoring in the 16th minute, off a deflected corner kick that Phoenix could not clear. Phoenix struggled to find momentum and gain control of the game. Both teams had scoring opportunities as they continued to battle back and forth in a physical game. Finally, in the 45+ minute, Abby Fusca drove down the right side and crossed the ball to Rachel Jackson. Jackson pushed the ball out of the way of a Herndon defender, and drove the ball into the left corner of the net, tying the game seconds before the referee blew the whistle ending the half.
The second half continued the physical play all around with Phoenix ‘99 taking the early advantage. Both teams battled for scoring opportunities, with each team missing several good chances to take the lead. Shots either wide or over the crossbar seemed to be the norm, and Phoenix ‘99 keeper Christina Larow made several key saves. Phoenix ’99 countered a Herndon attack, working the ball up the field. Again, Abby Fusca drove up the right side and crossed the ball into the middle. A streaking Whitney Wiley got her left foot on the ball pushing it into the left side of the goal to take a 2-1 lead in the 76th minute.
Herndon pressed hard to even the game as Phoenix ‘99 went into defensive mode. Phoenix continued to counter, hoping to put the game out of reach. The Phoenix defense thwarted several Herndon attacks in the closing minutes. As the whistle blew to end the game, the Vienna players rushed to congratulate one another.
Coach Michel Vanderhart said after the game, “This is the best team Vienna has ever had, and may ever have again.” In addition to Phoenix ‘99s two VYSA State Cup Championships, they were Finalist last year and in 2011/12. The team has three US Youth Soccer Region I appearances including as the U12 2012 Finalist.
Phoenix ‘99 plays in the Virginia Premier League (VPL) and is two-time champions; the only Vienna team to do so. The team represented Vienna and Virginia in the National Premier League Championships the past two years. They were the finalist in 2017, the only Vienna team to ever compete for a national championship.
Doug Walls, the U19 Girls Age Group Coordinator, said, “It has been a privilege watching these girls grow and develop as soccer players the past 10 years. I look forward to seeing the impact they will make on our country and the world in the years ahead.”