But it took a strong defensive effort and some superb play with games on the line for the Cartersville Clash Breakers to claim the Georgia Soccer Recreation Cup State Championship title and the Dacula Soccer Club Revolution Cup for the Under 12 Girls Division.
David Crews, who coached the team to the state title earlier this month in Gainesville, said the Breakers recorded three shutouts — 6-0, 5-0 and 6-0 — in pool play that began May 10 and 11.
It was tough sledding for the Cartersville team after that point, however.
Crews said the Breakers battled the Kennesaw Marvels to a 2-2 tie during regular play in their semifinal game. Kaylee Lovinggood broke that tie with a free kick with about 10 seconds remaining in the second overtime period.
The championship match in Fayetteville on May 17 against the Columbus Angels also was challenging. Crews said the Angels came to win but Breakers keeper Cali Fleming frustrated those plans with “a number of tremendous saves.”
The offensive load in that game was shouldered by Laura Grace Crews, who scored both goals for the Breakers as they defeated the Angels, 2-1.
The coach said the Breakers also have collected a tournament title since winning the state crown, capping their season with two championships.
He said the second crown was the Revolution Cup, which was played in Norcross on May 24-25. Crews said the Breakers again breezed through pool play in Norcross, winning 5-1, 2-0 and 2-0.
He said earning the title came only after a hot and hard-fought battle against the DSC Chicacabras in which they prevailed, 4-2.
He said Laura Grace Crews had two goals and Lovinggood and Tiera Feanny chipped in one apiece to secure the win.
The coach said the Breakers featured strong play at every position throughout both tournaments. Lovinggood led all scorers with 14 goals, followed closely by Tierra Feanny with 13. Laura Grace Crews had five goals and Devondria Johnson, Linet Chege and Livanna Romero scored one goal apiece.
Crews praised keeper Fleming for her play, saying she did an outstanding job in both tournaments as she recorded five shutouts.
Isabella Biddy, Lizzie Klein and Kendyl Anderson played tough and aggressive defense to keep pressure on the opposite half in all games, Crews added.
The Breakers play for the Cartersville-Bartow Youth Soccer Association’s Clash Soccer Club.
They played under other coaches until this season, which brought them under Crews’ tutelage.
The team went undefeated in fall and spring games in recreation department play, Crews said, but their real challenge came in the state tournament as well as the Dacula event.
“We asked all the girls to play in these two tournaments,” he said. “All agreed wholeheartedly. They love to play the tournaments and against strong competition.”
Crews said his team began to see its potential early in the state tournament.
“The first three games built their confidence and showed what was possible,” he said. “We’d played Kennesaw last fall and beat them, 2-0. The rematch was much closer, a nail biter. The win stands out as probably the most exciting for our team and for all of our girls.”