Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

July 18, 2013

Andover Force steam-rolls to state championship title

The Andover Townsman

---- — The Andover Force U13 Girls team was crowned the champions of the 2013 U14 Massachusetts Tournament of Champions division 2 last month in sudden-death fashion against the Newburyport Cyclones.

The Andover girls claimed victory in a hard-fought battle in 90-degree temperatures during the championship series June 27 through 29 at the Massachusetts Youth Citizens Bank Soccer Complex in Lancaster

The two teams were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation. After two scoreless overtime periods, a pressure-packed shoot-out had the teams tied 4-4 after five shooters apiece. The game then moved onto sudden death where Andover prevailed.

Overall, the Andover Soccer Association was well represented in the play-off season this year.

Ten Andover teams qualified for the 2013 Essex County Youth Soccer Championships last month at Pingree School in Hamilton, with five teams reaching the finals in their respective age group brackets. Two teams then earned the chance to move on to the state tournament in Lancaster.

“It is quite an accomplishment for 10 teams from one town to reach the play-offs” Andover Soccer president and travel director Carl Grygiel said in a release. “Ten teams equals 25 percent of our travel program — an amazing showing and truly representative of the hard work our players and coaches have put into their seasons.”

Meanwhile, the Andover Attack U15/16 girls returned to the state tournament a second consecutive year with a 2-0 victory over North Andover. Andover had played North Andover twice in the regular season, with both games ending in ties. True to form, the state tournament game was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation with Zoe Lyons scoring for Andover. The game moved into overtime where Emily O’Hara scored and the team secured the 2013 championship.

Three U14 boys teams reached the play-offs, with the Andover Warriors and Thunderbolts both falling short in the finals, while the Storm was upset in the semi-finals.

The Warriors, the 2012 ECYSA U14 Boys champions and 2012 state runner-up, lost to Revere 2-0 in a competitive and physical game. The Thunderbolts faced the top team in the division, the Lynn Legion of Doom, and held strong, but the heat of a midday game eventually wore them down and they lost 4-1.

Five first-year travel teams reached the play-offs, including four U11 Boys teams: the Cobras, Pythons, Rattlers and Anacondas. The Pythons and Rattlers both fell to stronger competition in the first round, while the Cobras and Anacondas lost in the semi-finals. The U11 Girls Firestorm played a strong team from Lynn, losing in the first round.