Trio of VSO squads take home championships|[5/17/05]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Three Vicksburg Soccer Organization teams defended their home turf and won President’s Cup championships this weekend.

The VSO Strikers, an under-12 boys Division II team, went 1-0-2 in pool play, then survived a pair of close championship round games to win their age group.

The Strikers beat the Meridian Nukes 2-1 in the semifinals, then knocked off the Brandon Storm 1-0 in the championship game. It was the first time the Strikers had beaten Brandon in a half-dozen meetings since September.

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“We really knew the odds were against us, but my guys fought like lions and we came out ahead one-nil,” Strikers coach Brian Gray said. “The whole second half we were defending, and we just managed to keep them out.”

In the girls U-10 Division II bracket, the VSO Alliance outscored their three pool play opponents 22-1 to advance to the championship round. There, they beat the Tupelo Futbol Club’s United 95 team 3-2 in the semifinals before scoring another 3-2 victory over the Brandon Blue Flames in the championship game.

The Alliance jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the first half against Brandon, then held off the Blue Flames’ comeback bid.

“It was very tight at the end,” said Alliance coach Guillermo Riveros. “The last 50 minutes, it was a 3-2 match and my goalies did very good.”

The VSO’s Wave United, a U-16 Division II girls team, had an easier time than their younger counterparts. Playing a round-robin tournament against one of the smaller President’s Cup age groups, the United went 3-0 on its way to the title.

The VSO team scored nine goals in three games, and won two of the three contests by two goals.

All three VSO teams ended their seasons with state championships. Division II teams are feeder programs for the more elite Division I teams, and are not eligible for regional tournaments.