Three SDA teams are headed to Erie, Pa. this weekend for the playoffs in the Great Lakes Alliance, part of the National Premier League, NPL.
Coach Tommy Tanner’s ’01 Girls, coach Janine Bennett’s ’05 Girls, and coach Shannon Colton’s ’03 Boys will each play a semi-final game on Saturday. The winners meet for final games on Sunday.
Teams that win the finals advance to the NPL Championships. For girls teams, those games take place July 12-16 in Aurora, Colo. Boys teams play June 29 to July 3 in Lancaster, Mass.
Because Colton’s team will play in US Youth Regionals June 29 to July 3 in Spotsylvania, Va., he already notified GLA officials that his team would not be able to play in the NPL Championships. The team still wants to win. “We want to be able to say we won the GLA,” Colton says.
The ’03 Boys are pitted against Rochester Football Club in the semi-final. The team, expecting to win, has reserved hotel rooms for Saturday night. Colton says he’s glad for this weekend’s games, as warmup for the competition they’ll face at Regionals.
Bennett’s ’05 Girls will also compete at Regionals. “I am so pleased with the progress of this team, and to be here in the finals is fantastic,” she says. “This gives us the opportunity to reward ourselves for the work we have put in this year.”
They will play a very good Century team in their opening game. “We lost to Century 3-0 in league play,” recalls Bennett. “I feel like we have made so many great strides playing in tough competition in the tournaments we’ve attended, that we can compete with them. And the amount we have grown since the fall gives us a great chance to win this game.”
On Saturday, Tanner’s team will play GPS Elite, a team it tied 1-1 in league play. “If we play our best game, we are the better team,” he says. “But it’s soccer, so you have to play as well as you can in every game.”
On Sunday, the ’01 Girls would face either Barcelona or Xtreme Select, from the west division. SDA never played Barcelona, the team that finished first in that division, “so if we can advance, we know it will be a difficult game. Xtreme Select is our only loss in the NPL this season, and if they advance, we will look to avenge our only loss.”