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Valley Soccer Posts Strong Showing in Iceland

Members of the Valley Soccer Club participating in the Rey Cup,

100 team international youth soccer tournament staged in

Reykjavik, Icland, display the United States and Pennsyl-

vania flags during their trip.

            In all sports, away games always are more difficult that home games.  But when you play six straight "away" games, with the location being 2,700 miles from home, it can present a formidable challenge.  The Valley Soccer Club can proudly say their teams were up for the challenge.  The Voodoo (Under-14 Girls) and Crew (Under-15 Boys) spent the past seven days participating in the Rey Cup, a 100 team international youth soccer tournament staged in Reykjavik, Iceland.  Both teams finished strong. The Voodoo finished sixth in their class, while the Crew took seventh place.

            There were over 90 Icelandic teams, there were teams representing England, Scotland, Norway, Faroe Islands, and Chile as well.  In addition to the two Valley teams, the United States was represented by a third team from Burlington, Massachusetts.  The group of 57, consisting of 31 players, 5 coaches and 21 family members, arrived Wednesday morning in Iceland, opening their visit with some sightseeing.  They first visited Viking World, a museum that features a replica of an eighth century Viking long ship that actually sailed from Iceland to Canada and the USA in 2000 to celebrate Leif Erickson's 1,000th anniversary of his journey to North American. 

            Thursday morning marked the start of tournament play, with both teams having two matches.  The Voodoo dropped a 6-3 decision to Klesko (the eventually runners-up).  Kyra Lesko, Cori Bieber and Sara Fisher netted the goals for Valley, with Mary Kate Sitko, Karly Sheahan and Sara Edwards providing the assists.  The second match was even tougher, as they fell 3-0 to eventual champion Valur, a Reykjavik-based team.  The Crew opened with eventual champions Hottur/Sindri, a team from the far eastern region of Iceland.  Valley took the lead on a long free kick from Nick Willson, but Hottur came back with two second half goals to claim a 2-1 win.  In the second match, the Crew got goals from Kyle Shemeley (header on a corner kick from Willson) and a game-winner from Blake

            Schwenk, assisted by Jack Cupitt, to register a 2-1 win.

            Friday was a lighter day, as each team only had one match.  The Crew registered their second win of the tourney, defeating local side Breidablik II 1-0 on a Kieran Rea header from a Michael Fisher free kick.  The defense continued its strong play, let by backs Cupitt, Fisher and Keaton Durning, along with goalkeeper Matt Wanamaker who registered the shutout. The girls had another rough outing, falling 3-1 to IBV, a team from a group of islands off the south coast of Iceland.  Sarah Fisher scored the lone Valley goal, capitalizing on a goalkeeper miscue. 

            Saturday was back two another full day, with each team playing two matches.  The Voodoo got their first win of the trip, a convincing 5-2 victory over Fram/Afturelding, a Reykjavik team.  Sarah Fisher paced the Valley attack with a hattrick, while Lesko and Sara Edwards added single goals.  The balanced attack featured assists from Sitko, Erin & Sara Edwards, Jada Roderick and Fisher.  The win left the team in 4th place of Group B, setting up their afternoon playoff match against Selfoss, the 3rd place team in Group A. 

            The Voodoo's offense continued to jell as they registered a 4-1 victory, which qualified the team for Sunday's fifth-place match.  Fisher tallied another hattrick in the match, with Roderick contributing the other goal.  Assists were credited to Sheahan, Sitko and Sara Edwards.  The Crew dropped a pair of hard fought battles to finish their group play, falling to local side Throttur 1-0 on a penalty kick, then falling 3-1 to Vestri, a team from the far northwest region of Iceland. Willson scored the lone Valley goal, knocking in a rebound of his own header on a cross from Cupitt. 

            The final day of competition for both teams ended up in matches that went to penalty kicks after finishing tie.  The Voodoo drew 2-2 with another Reykjavik side, RKV, with Erin Edwards and Lesko notching the Valley goals.  In the shootout, Lesko and Fisher both scored, but the RKV keeper saved the third shot, leaving Valley on the short end of a 3-2 score line and in sixth place of the tourney.  The boys ended 1-1 in their playoff match against Reynir/Vidir, a club an hour outside of Reykjavik.  Mason Powers registered the goal, assisted by Rea.  In the shootout, Valley had their first seven shooters all score, with Cupit, Willson, Jagger Sokel, Rea, Fisher, Schwenk, and Kyle Shemeley all finding the back of the net.  Goalkeeper Matt Wanamaker saved the kick from Reynir's seventh shooter, giving the team the victory and a finish of seventh place in the tourney.

            With the competition behind them, the teams turned their focus on taking in many of the sites of Iceland.  Sunday evening the group visited the world-famous Blue Lagoon, a geothermal lake in an old lava field with waters at bath temperatures, no matter what the air temperature.  On Monday, the group went on the Golden Circle Tour, which features many of Iceland's natural wonders, such as Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir, a geyser and hot springs area, and Thingvellir National Park, the ancient Viking Parliament meeting site which is located on the fault line between teutonic plates. 

            Monday the group visited Hallgrimskirkja, the massive church that dominates the Reykjavik skyline, whose tower features a panoramic view of the city, and the Perlan, a museum on a hill overlooking the city which features displays on volcanoes and a re-creation of an ice cave. 

            Team members of the Crew included Jack Cupitt, Keaton Durning, Anthony Durrant, Michael Fisher, Owen Gray, Tyler Lingenfelter, Matt Milkowich, Mason Powers, Kieran Rea, Blake Schwenk, Kyle Shemeley, Matt Shemeley, Jagger Sokel, Matt Wannamaker and Nick Willson.  Coaches were Jason Gray & Rick Sokel.  Team members of the Voodoo included Cori Bieber, Kendall Cunningham, Giana Deskevich, Erin Edwards, Sara Edwards, Sarah Fisher, Kyra Lesko, Liz Neeld, Hanna Nguyen, Mlynn Poulson, Lauren Powers, Jada Roderick, Karly Sheahan, Mary Kate Sitko, Jada Soken and Rylee Van Gilson.  Coaches were Carla Sokel, Kevin Sheahan and Don Powers.






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