In the second edition of the U16 National Club Championships in Virginia Beach, VA, Spirit of USA successfully defended their title from 2011, knocking off Xcalibur 2-1 in a thrilling final. Spirit of USA, led by coaches Lori Hillman Boyle and Susan Donaldson, finished first in their group with wins over East Coast Hockey, WCUFHA, and South Jersey Edge. Placed against Windy City in the quarters, the New Jersey natives survived the scare by the Chicagoans, winning through 2-1 to advance to the semis, in which they regained their form and won over High Styx 5-1 to secure a second straight finals berth.Xcalibur easily conquered their group, winning handily over ADK, Saints, and Mystics, all with at least a 3-goal cushion. In a match up with last years runners up, WC Eagles, Xcalibur outscored their opponents 5-3, and took care of their semifinal opponents, Jersey Intensity, to meet Spirit in the highly anticipated final. However, they could not crack the Spirit of USA’s airtight defense and lost in a heartbreaker 2-1.
“We are extremely proud of the way our team played throughout the entire tournament," said Hillman. "The girls were able to push themselves to new limits in order to achieve our team goals. I really can't say enough about their efforts for not only the entire weekend, but also the weeks leading up to the event. To win the U16 National Club Championship two years in a row is a great accomplishment for the members of our club."In a strong showing for the state of New Jersey, third place went to Jersey Intensity, with a 3-1 victory over High Styx.
The National Club Championship hosts 16 of the best teams around America in three age groups. The event, held on the Astroturf field of the National Training Center provides the ideal environment for field hockey athletes to compete at their highest level. The tournament is operated by USA Field Hockey, which provides the best in umpiring and game management. USA Field Hockey will provided updated Club Rankings following the conclusion of the full tournament.