RVT Red completes dominant run
Behind all the great passes that led to all the great goals was a saying which became the Rogue Valley Timbers Red club’s credo: “Share the ball, share the glory.”
There was only one ball for the Rogue Memorial Challenge U19 Cascade girls championship game Monday, but for RVT Red there was plenty of glory as the cadre of local all-stars scored three goals in the first nine minutes en route to a flashy, 5-0 victory over the other local team in the field, RVT Black, at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
Maddie Wheelock struck twice in the opening seven minutes off a perfect through ball and a corner kick into the box, and Lily Annen cracked home a laser just under the crossbar in the eighth minute as one of the most balanced, loaded U19 squads the valley has seen in some time dominated its spring season finale, as expected.
RVT Red out-shot RVT Black 12-0, including 7-0 in on-goal opportunities, and used superior ball control to remain on the offensive virtually the entire game and close out a sterling run through the tournament’s most competitive girls bracket with a 4-0 record. RVT Red outscored its four opponents 15-2 and did not allow a goal in its last three games.
“I think we just really wanted to possess,” said Wheelock, the St. Mary’s High star who will be playing for Northern Arizona University next fall. “This is game four, so we’re all kind of tired, and I think we wanted to just pass around them so we didn’t have to work as hard and just play as a team. I think we did it better than I was expecting.”
“I’m just really happy that this was our last game because I felt like we really played a good game and before the tournament we weren’t connected that much because we hadn’t played awhile since State Cup,” said Annen, an outside back from Ashland who’ll play soccer at Chapman University. “So this game everyone was on, we were sharing the ball and it was all just really good stuff.”
In other action Monday, the Rogue Valley Timbers Red club beat North State Soccer Kaos Rampage 2-0 in the U19 boys third-place game to avenge a 1-0 loss on Sunday and wrap up a 2-1-2 mark at the Challenge.
FC Corning Juventus, which tied RVT Red on Saturday, trounced AC United Alliance 4-0 to capture the U19 boys title.
Cascade Rush beat Ashland MUFC Mutiny, 4-2, to capture the U18 Cascade boys title, and Nevada United beat RVT Red, 1-0, to claim the U16 girls championship. There were no U17 or U18 girls brackets.
The RVT Red girls squad, coached by Kevin Primerano, laid down the law only minutes after the opening whistle when Ibixica Alvarez surprised the defense with a gorgeous through ball that perfectly set up the streaking Wheelock. The Class 3A/2A/1A first-team all-state selection streaked to the goal from about the 20-yard line with nobody in front of her and calmly tapped the ball past RVT Black keeper Skylar Farmer.
“I don’t think the defense was really expecting it,” Wheelock said.
The second goal required a little more concentration on Wheelock’s part. After Brooklyn Snow sent a corner kick into the box, Annen went up high for a header that succeeded in playing the ball to Wheelock’s feet. With little daylight, Wheelock ripped a right-legged shot to the left of the diving Farmer for a 2-0 lead.
Annen contributed perhaps the prettiest strike of the day one minute later when she gathered the ball in space and let fly a rocket that Farmer, a South Medford senior, could only wave at.
That turned out to be the last goal of the first half, as RVT Black, the local contingent with far less experience playing together, was able to hold RVT Red to just one shot over the half’s remaining 27 minutes.
RVT Red got back to work in the second half and generated far more offense, though the constant pressure only produced two more goals. The first came in the second minute of action, when Meghan Michels, a St. Mary’s senior, received a tap corner kick, casually ran up to the ball and chipped a shot over Farmer’s outstretched hands for a 4-0 lead.
“We knew going in that it was going to be really rough,” Farmer said, “and I like how we stuck together.”
About 28 minutes later, shortly before the final whistle, Alvarez, who terrorized RVT Black’s defense all day, got loose for a point-blank shot which Farmer saved. But Farmer’s slap block bounced right to Grace Weber, who tapped in the easy finish for the 5-0 final.
“I really feel that we earned this position to play them in the tournament,” said RVT Black’s Raisa Rich, whose team beat Bayern Munich 2-1 and tied North State 1-1 to earn a spot in the Cascade final. “We kind of just bonded very quickly.”
“We’ve only played together for two months and they play for 10 months out of the year,” RVT Black’s Brieann Fitch added. “But we showed sportsmanship and you could tell that we really love each other. We’re more about having fun.”
During his team’s last postgame gathering, Primerano went down the line and spoke about each player as he handed out their championship medals. The tears were already flowing when he got to Wheelock, and for her Primerano shared an anecdote. Apparently, about six years ago, long before the reigning Memorial champs were even in high school, many of the players he still coaches, Wheelock included, were playing a pick-up game in his back yard. Somehow, a soccer ball ended up wedged between some branches high in a tree, and there it remained until a recent wind gust blew it free.
Primerano surprised Wheelock with the faded, flat ball, along with her medal, Monday, an appropriate send off for a group he says is one of the best collections of talent the Rogue Valley has seen.
“I’ve had a big group of them since they were freshmen,” he said. “Played a State Cup final with them and three State Cup semifinals, so yes, it’s difficult (to say goodbye).
“I say it all the time, take away the soccer stuff and they’re just high-character kids and they’re going to go on to be successful in any area of their lives. The soccer stuff’s just a moment in time. I said to them, we’ve had a legacy that was created four or five years ago in this program and it just keeps getting better as it gets passed down. And they’ve kind of cemented their own legacy and the younger girls on the team now have an opportunity to continue that on and continue their own legacy next year.”
U10 — Siskiyou final: Sierra Nevada FC Reno Strikers 4, Upper Rogue United Futbol URU Eagles 0; third-place: 4H Galacticos 7, SOSA Golden Eagles 3. Sierra final: RPSC FC Piamonte White 3, 4-H McMinnville United 0; third-place: Ashland Thunder 4, NCU Toros 2.
U11 — Cascade final: NCU Corning FC 3, 4-H McMinnville United 2; third-place: RPSC Coras 2, Basin United Phantoms 0. Siskiyou finals: BUSC Venom 2, North State KAOS Rebels 1; Rogue Valley Timbers Black 3, Rogue Valley Timbers Red 2; third-place: Oregon Futbol Academy 6, Rogue Valley Timbers White 2; Umpqua United UUSC 4, AC Samoa 1.
U12 — Cascade final: Deportivo La Callecita 5, Eugene Timbers FC ETFC Rangers Black 0; third-place: Oregon Futbol Academy OFA Azul Rebels 4, Ashland Cinders 1. Siskiyou final: NCU Warriors 3, Umpqua United 0; GC United 2, Rogue Valley Timbers White 0; third-place: BUSC Octane 2, Oregon Futbol Academy OFA Blanco 0; NCU Athetico Corning 4, NCU Vipers 2.
U13 — Cascade final: TPSA Coras 2, Sierra Nevada FC Reno Strikers 1; third-place: River Premier Monaco 3, Rogue Valley Timbers Red 2; Siskiyou final: BUSC 1, Oregon Futbol Academy OFA Azul 0; third-place: Chico Cal SC Orlando Chelsea 4, Rogue Valley Timbers White 3.
U14 — Cascade final: David Douglas FC Piamonte 3, Rogue Valley Timbers Red 2; third-place: OFA Blue 4, Upper Rogue United Futbol URUFC Eagles 1. Siskiyou final: Basin United BUSC Spartans 3, URU Elotes FC 1; third-place: SOSA South Valley 3, Rogue Valley Timbers White 0.
U15-U16: Cascade third-place: 4-H Northside 4, Rogue Valley Timbers White 1. Sierra final: CU Chivas 2, Basin United XOLOS 0; third-place Cascade Rush 4, Rogue Valley Timbers 1.
U17-U18: Cascade final: Cascade Rush 4, Ashland MUFC Mutiny 2; third-place Upper Rogue Futbol URUFC Eagles 2, Oregon Futbol Academy OFA 1. Siskiyou final: Epuerto 4, Brookings Bruins 0; third-place: OFA 5, BUSC Swat 1.
U19 — Final: FC Corning Juventus 4, AC United Alliance 0; third-place: Rogue Valley Timbers Red 2, North State Soccer KAOS Rampage 0.
U10 — Finals: GBYSL HD Warriors 2, Eugene Timbers FC ETFC Brescia Black 1; Sierra Nevada FC Nevada United 3, Ashland FC 1. third-place: Rogue Valley Timbers Red 3, GC United 2; Rogue Valley Timbers White 5, Medford United FC JCS Riptide 0.
U11 — Finals: V Academy NVA 3, Albany United Football AUFC Firecrackers 0; FC Corning Fury 1, Rogue Valley Timbers White 0; third-place: Basin United BUSC Thunder 2, North State Misfits Crazy Black 0; Rogue Valley Timbers Red 3, Red Bluff Youth Mayhem 2.
U12 — Final: Rogue Valley Timbers Red 5, Umqua United UUSC Panthers 1; third-place: OFA Rebels 4, SOSA Panthers 3.
U13 — Final: Oregon Futbol Academy Azul 1, Rogue Valley Timbers Red 0; third-place: NV Academy 4, GBYSL HD Knights 0.
U14 — Cascade final: Yuba Sutter FC Flash 3, Rogue Valley Timbers Red 0; third-place: NV Academy NVA Black 4, Eugene Timbers Chelsea Red 0. Sierra third-place: Medford United Comets 2, NCU Fury 0.
U15 — Final: TPSA CORA 2, Rogue Valley Timbers White 1; third-place: Spanish Spring Lady Jaguars 2, BUSC Surge 1.
U16 — Final: Nevada United 1, Rogue Valley Tibers Red 0; Portland City United Black 2, Cascade Rush Clash 0.
U19 — Cascade final: Rogue Valley Timbers Red 5, Rogue Valley Timbers Black 0; third-place: North State Soccer Misfits Renegades 4, 4-H Bayern Munich 0. Siskiyou final: Northstate Soccer Misfits Mavericks 3, AC United Freedom 0; third-place Cascade Rush Revolution 2, OFA-GP 1. Sierra final: Southern Oregon Lady Pirates 2, Umpqua United UUSC 0; third-place: Rogue Valley Timbers White 1, Basin United 0.
Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-776-4469 or email@example.com.