Sunday, January 15, 2012

Competition on Day 3 topped the Charts... NEPS provides quality

Sheldon Shealer/ESPNHSAmerican Heritage-Delray's Sidney Paraodie, 9, makes a run at goal during the team's meeting with McKinney Boyd at the National Elite Prep Showcase.
FORT WORTH, Texas – Before their final match, Rachel Lurvey and Courtney Forte entertained the crowd with an impromptu dance. Once the contest started, teammates Katelyn Mountjoy and Baylee Mitchell took center stage, scoring goals as Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) upended Ursuline Academy (Dallas, Texas) 2-0 at Texas Christian University to complete a 4-0 run through the National Elite Prep Showcase on Saturday.

Marcus, Carroll (Southlake, Texas) and Keller (Texas) were the only schools to win all four of their matches at the mixer-style event that featured 32 teams representing the three major winter-playing soccer states: California, Florida and Texas.

“We have the mentality to take state, and that’s motivating us,” said Mitchell, whose final minute breakaway goal – created by a well-played pass from right back Dani Murphy -- sealed the 2-0 victory.

Marcus defeated Murrieta Valley (Murrieta, Calif.), Martin (Arlington, Texas) and Midland (Texas) to set up the showdown with Ursuline, which entered the contest at 13-0.

The match was scoreless midway through the second half until Mountjoy, a junior and early commit to UNC-Greensboro, placed a 25-yard direct kick in the upper right corner – kissing the post before ending up in the goal.

“This was a very strong victory for us,” Mountjoy said. “Ursuline, in the past, won a lot of state titles, so we knew we shouldn’t under-estimate them. We were way more aggressive.”
Marcus entered the event ranked No. 31 in the POWERADE FAB 50, but the win over No. 4 Ursuline will vault the Marauders into the top five next week.


The National Elite Prep Showcase is the only event that gathers teams from three states, and thus the results play a major part in shaping the rankings not only for this coming Tuesday but also the rest of the season.

The top four teams in the POWERADE FAB 50 were in action in this event, and here are the major winners and losers:

" No. 1 Boyd (McKinney, Texas) allowed a last-second goal in a 2-2 event-ending draw with No. 28 Grapevine (Texas). The result likely will cost Boyd the top ranking next week, although the Broncos will be among the top five.

" No. 2 Coppell (Texas) tied its final two matches to end 2-0-2. A win over St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) will keep the Cowgirls among the nation’s elite, although it will drop from the top five.

" No. 3 Heritage (Colleyville, Texas) went 0-2-2 at the event and will fall completely from the rankings.

" No. 4 Ursuline’s event-ending loss to Marcus will bump this program from the top five, however, solid wins over American Heritage-Delray (Delray Beach, Fla.) and Kingwood (Humble, Texas) will keep the Bears ranked fairly high.

" No. 8 Carroll not only went 4-0, but also shut out all four opponents. This team figures to move into the forefront of the national title race.

" No. 13 St. Thomas Aquinas. Last year, the Raiders used this event to propel themselves toward a POWERADE FAB 50 national title. This year’s youthful squad went 2-1-1, and will remain a Top 25 team.

" No. 18 American Heritage-Delray. Coach Steve Burgess welcomed the challenge of the event and this small school Florida power, which entered at 17-0, will go home 18-2-1 after a 1-2-1 showing.

" Rosary (Santa Ana, Calif.) went 2-1-1, a good showing for a team that entered as No. 38 in the ESPNHS California Top 40. Rosary previously was a FAB 50 top 20 team until a loss and a draw right before the event knocked them from the rankings. Rosary tied St. Thomas Aquinas and the team’s only setback was to Southlake Carroll. That sort of showing speaks well for the quality of play in California, as a whole.

" Keller was a big surprise, going 4-0 while playing in the Baylor SportsCare Bracket, which was the second-highest competitive group.

" Flower Mound (Texas) posted a 3-1 record, losing only to Rosary, which should be good enough to earn the team a state top 20 ranking.


" McKenna Arras, Coppell (Texas): Coppell was unable to capitalize on any of its numerous offensive chances, so it was up to keeper McKenna Arras to keep Allen (Texas) out of the net. Arras delivered several saves and came off the line a few times to snuff out potential chances to help Coppell play to a scoreless draw.

" Katelyn Mountjoy, Marcus. The junior scored what proved to be the winning goal in Marcus’ 2-0 victory over Ursuline. It was her third goal of the day (after scoring two in a morning win over Midland) and fifth in the four matches.

" Sophie Groff, Carroll. Groff scored the lone goal in the team’s event-ending 1-0 win over Clear Lake (Houston, Texas) to complete a 4-0 showing at the event. Groff scored the only goals in the 1-0 wins over Westlake (Austin, Texas) and Clear Lake, assisted both goals in a 2-0 win over Rosary and was limited to two in the team’s 12-0 thrashing of Palo Duro (Amarillo, Texas).

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