N.j. Strikers Beaten In National Semifinal

Posted: August 02, 1997

Withering heat and a slew of missed opportunities conspired against the New Jersey Strikers Thursday night as the Burlington-based, under-17 girls' team lost in double overtime, 3-1, to the GSE Cardinals of Ohio in the semifinals of the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in Phoenix.

According to coach Frank Schillig, New Jersey's team dominated the opening 15 minutes of the 45-minute first half, missing on ``a dozen legitimate scoring chances.''

``People behind the bench told us with the way the game was going, they thought we would win, 4-0,'' Schillig said. ``That's what's so disappointing. We thought we were the better team.''

But the Cardinals, from Cincinnati, scored with nine minutes left in the first half. And Schillig said the intense heat at the Cave Creek Soccer Complex - it was 95 degrees even at 8:30 p.m. - already had started to take its toll.

``The substitution rule was that if you took a player out, she couldn't go back in for the rest of the half,'' Schillig said, ``so you had to be very careful when you substituted. But it was so hot. The heat just killed us.''

The Strikers did score 12 minutes into the second half when Tammy Impson, a senior-to-be at Eastern High School, converted a pass from Shawnee's Kelly Capri.

With three minutes left in the half, the Strikers just missed converting on a possible winning breakaway.

The two teams remained tied through the first 15-minute overtime. The Cardinals went ahead by 2-1 less than two minutes into the second OT, then put in an insurance goal with a minute left in the overtime.

The Strikers are scheduled to face the Challenge, from Dallas, in this morning's consolation round with a third-place medal at stake.

FC Delco, competing in the boys' under-16 tournament, was scheduled to face FC Portland (Ore.) Academy in a semifinal late yesterday. The under-16 championship and consolation rounds are scheduled for tomorrow morning.

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