After a tough, winless opening to their season in three games at the Dublin Tournament earlier this month, the 2015 edition of the Oakdale United Insanity girls travel soccer team came back in a big way this past weekend.
The girls played to four victories over two days, claiming the championship at the annual Cassy Rowe Benefit Tournament at Cherry Island Soccer Complex. They even had to go to a penalty kick shootout in the title game, taking down Elk Grove for the crown. It was the second time in four years participating in the tournament that the Insanity has taken the top spot at Cassy Rowe; the other two years they finished second.
This year, the Insanity is playing at the U18 level, coaches said, dropping down from U19 and losing several longtime players from last season, some off to college and some aging out of the travel team.
About half the players this season are new to the Insanity, but most have joined from other Oakdale United teams, progressing through the age divisions and now playing at the U18 level.
Coaches Brian Orr and Sebastian DeSales praised the teamwork of the squad this weekend, noting it was their determination, ability to finish and belief in each other on the field that earned the wins and ultimately, the title. The tournament benefits Rowe, who suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury in 2008 while she was a competitive player for Sierra Soccer Extreme.
In their opener on Saturday, the U18 Insanity girls shut out Sierra FC 1-0 and came back later Saturday to post a 3-0 win against Yuba/Sutter. Sunday’s first game resulted in a 1-0 win over Auburn to put the squad in the championship against Elk Grove. Tied at 1-1 after regulation and ten minutes of overtime, it went to a penalty kick round, with Insanity goalie and tournament MVP Melissa Ibarra stopping two of the Elk Grove shots on net, the other three going wide. Logan Laugero netted the lone goal for Oakdale in the PK round, but that one was enough to bring home the top trophy.
“It was a total team win, everyone gave it their all,” Coach Orr said. “It was stressful; we know Elk Grove is always strong.
“The girls were excited, they ran on the field when we won … great times.”