New Mexico ODP sent 5 teams to Phoenix for the 2010 ODP Regional Championships; a summary of how our teams did can be found below the photo album.
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The New Mexico ODP 94 girls had an outstanding weekend at the ODP regional championships. They came up one goal shy of moving on to the semi- finals. They started the weekend with a 1-0 victory over Arizona. In their second match, they lost to eventual champions, Cal South, 0-1. The game was played in the middle third of the field with both teams creating quality chances to score. The 94 girls went into their final match against Utah needing a tie to advance to the semi- finals. They fought back from a 2-goal deficit to get the game to 2-1, but were not able to get the last goal for the tie. Despite not making their goal of advancing in the tournament, the girls played in front of over 60 college coaches and showed very well. Ashley Williams was selected to the all-tournament second team.
The New Mexico 95 girls had 3 competitive games in the ODP Regional Championships and unfortunately came up short in all 3. The girls started with Arizona on Saturday morning. After going down 1-0 they came back and tied the game 1-1; although they created some quality chances to win the game, they conceded late to lose 2-1. In their next match the 95s played an incredible match against the eventual tournament champions, Cal South. New Mexico came back to tie Cal South 1-1 and lost to a questionable penalty kick late in the game. In their final match New Mexico came back from a 2-0 deficit to get the score to 2-1 and came up just short of tying the game late in the match. Although they were not able to get the results they wanted, they competed well all weekend.
The 96 girls had an excellent showing and were one win away from advancing to the semi-finals at the ODP Regional Championships. They had a strong showing, beating the 97 Nevada ODP team 4-0 in their opening match. They followed their win with a loss to eventual tournament champions Cal South. The 96s bounced back from their loss with a night game and beat Arizona 2-0. Going in to their final bracket match with Hawaii on Monday the New Mexico 96 girls had to get a win to advance to the semi-finals. They started the match with an early goal, but Hawaii tied it up in the second half. With one minute remaining New Mexico was awarded a corner kick but was unable to capitalize and Hawaii sealed the game with a break-away goal. The team did very well for their first regional championship and were awarded 2 players on the ODP Regional all-tournament team. Alicia Sanchez made the all tournament first team and Natasha Pino was awarded second team.
The 1996 boys were presented with a strong and talented bracket in this year’s ODP Regional Championships and we could not have found better opponents for this young New Mexico group. Their bracket included Cal South, Washington and Nevada. Washington and Cal South ended up playing each other in the final, with Washington taking the tournament championship. The New Mexico 96 boys played hard against all of their opponents, with many ups and downs in the weekend. The best result of the weekend came in a 1-0 loss to Nevada. The goal given up to Nevada was conceded in the final minutes of the match when New Mexico was dominating the match and creating several goal-scoring chances. Against Cal South the 96 New Mexico boys had a strong second half but struggled to keep the ball in the first half. Finally in their last match our 96 New Mexico boys fought very hard to compete against a very big and fast Washington side. This was the first year that these boys in the 96 age group were able to attend and compete at this high-level ODP tournament. Many of the players who played on the 96 boys New Mexico ODP team are playing on club sides that rarely lose matches in league play, and these boys are now ready for a new challenge. They met that challenge in this tournament where the New Mexico 96 boys were introduced to a level of play that they now have to aspire to reach. Although the team would have preferred better results on the weekend, they were given a rare chance to play against combined groups of the top players in the region.
The 95 boys brought several new players to regional championships this year who had not attended in previous years. This speaks well to the development of players in this age group within New Mexico. Having new players invited to the New Mexico 95 boys team year after year indicates that players all over the state are competing against one another to develop into New Mexico’s top players. The 95 boy’s team consisted of several attack-minded players which created some issues for the team at times and proved very positive at other times. Against Utah the New Mexico boys conceded two goals and created several quality chances in an effort to score their own. New Mexico proved to be the more creative side but were unable to capitalize on that creativity by beating Utah’s goalkeeper. The match ended 2-0 to Utah. The struggles they saw against Utah were reproduced against Arizona in their second match. Several chances were created but not finished, and Arizona came out the 2-0 victors. In the third match against Cal North the finishing troubles finally halted and New Mexico went up 2-0 early in the first half. They continued to threaten Cal North’s goal but could not find the back of the net anymore. Cal North fought to bring the match level at 2-2 with only a few short minutes left in the match. The 95 boys ended with 2 losses and a tie in the tournament, having created some good scoring chances but not being able to finish enough to advance. Ben Spencer was named to the 95 Boys all-tournament first team.