After recently winning their fourth tournament this season, the under 10 Modesto Ajax United girls soccer club is now 23-3-1, after losing in the quarterfinal game at the Mustang Stampede Tournament this past weekend.
Thirteen of the 16 teams that participated in the tournament were ranked in the top 18, including Ajax as they sat at third.
“We went 2-2 for the weekend; all teams we played are very strong overall. Everyone we played was punishing everyone else, but we held our own,” Ajax head coach Tim Leonard said.
Despite the tough competition, the Ajax squad was able to come away with two consecutive shutouts after losing their first game to Carlsbad 1-0.
In their second game they took down Pleasanton 3-0. The next game would see a similar outcome as they shutout Burlingame 4-0. Mya Sanchez was able to capture two clean sheets. Cora Grover had four goals, Leah O’Brien tallied three and Abigal Souza added one goal for the tournament to lead the team.
“We played very well. These girls did a great job. We showed up and played well but it was difficult because the So Cal players were tougher, but we enjoyed it since it is not often we get to play them,” Leonard said. “Hopefully next year we can do it. The So Cal teams give us trouble.”
After winning two straight, the Ajax squad found themselves in the playoffs, however they lost to the Strikers FC team 3-1 after trailing most of the game 2-0.
“They got a 2-0 lead, then it was 2-1 the majority of the match. At the end I pressed players up to score and they got a good run and scored their third. Southern California teams play very quick and are very strong,” Leonard said. “In Nor Cal we dominate usually, but it was a great challenge to know where we are and be within a goal or two is huge. Next year I hope we can go down there and compete well in the tourney.”
The top-ranked Nor Cal teams competing consisted of: #1 San Juan, #2 MVLA, #3 Ajax, #4 Santa Rosa, #5 Mustang, #6 Stockton, #7 Pleasanton, #8 Bay Area Barcelona, #10 Juventus, #11 Freedom, #12 Burlingame, #17 UC Premier Fillies and #18 Placer. Representing the southern part of California were San Diego Surf, Carlsbad FC and Strikers FC. San Diego Surf beat Carlsbad 2-1 in the championship.
“Unfortunately, there are seldom tourneys that have had this big of competition. Mustang Stampede is a quality event that draws top level competition,” Assistant Coach Christen Grover said.
Next, the girls go to 7th Annual Adidas Championship Cup in Sacramento, at Larchmont Community Park and other fields Aug. 24 and 25.