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United Quest Conquers Johnson City Invitational

Weekend Overall thoughts for April 20 & 21, 2002

With an awesome display of determination and skill, the girls of United Quest '88 Athena White dominated the three teams they faced en route to the title match of the 2002 McDonald's Invitational Soccer Tournament in Johnson City, TN before prevailing 1-0 in the championship game. This was the 16th annual tournament conducted by the East Tennessee Soccer Federation (ETSF) and this year it featured 41 girls' teams in seven age brackets and 45 boys' teams in five age brackets. The '88 Whites completely overwhelmed the first three teams they faced with a controlled passing game, an unyielding defensive presence, and accurate finishing up top. On their march to the final, United defeated a good team from Charleston, WV, one of the home teams from Johnson City, TN, and a second West Virginia squad. The U13 Championship Match featured our Quest side against a very aggressive and skilled side from Raleigh, NC, the CASL 88 Spartan White. The match was a seesaw affair that saw the momentum swing in each half. The first half belonged to the CASL 88 side, who attacked the goal with a strong wind at their backs and a determination that United had not experienced in their first three matches. With their backs against the wall and blustery winds in their faces, the Quest girls held strong with their most determined team defense of the tournament. At the half-time whistle the score stood at 0-0 and the girls knew that they had weathered the best that Raleigh could muster against them. The second half belonged to United as the girls picked up their game to return some of the pressure they had endured in the first thirty-five minutes. Even though CASL still had some confidence from their first half performance and continued to push forward aggressively, Quest took advantage of some defensive confusion on one counterattack to take a 1-0 lead that would ultimately hold up as the final score. No one could have predicted before the tournament began that United Quest would need only four goals to sweep their four games and claim the championship trophy. Because their keeper and defense kept clean sheets in every game, the first goal in each match turned out to be a game winner. However, the girls didn't stop at one goal per match until the final. They claimed the championship by outscoring their opponents by a combined tally of 23-0, and displayed an attractive, poised, and exciting style of play in each of their four matches. The tournament championship was especially sweet for these hardworking girls, because they have been on the cusp of a title in several previous very competitive tournaments only to see the soccer gods turn them away in a variety of disheartening ways. Congratulations go out to Coach Anne Bristol and the outstanding athletes who comprise the U13 United Quest '88 Athena White team, the 2002 Champions of the McDonald's Invitational Soccer Tournament in Johnson City, TN.

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