The U12G Arlington Elite opened the PWSI Icebreaker Tournament, played 27-28 March 2004, with a 1-1 tie against Frederick United. The tie was saved with a great goal by Nicole Peyton in the final 2 minutes of the game. The Elite lost the second game in the Blue Division by a score of 3-0 to the SWYA Spirit. However, this was enough to allow the Elite to advance to the semi-finals on Sunday.
Saturday's loss against the SWYA Spirit was especially a tough on the team. As Coach Martha Rackiewicz said, "Our bench looked like an infirmary." The girls were pretty battered. Carly Hinkle was on the Disabled List while she continued to recover from her broken arm. Tessa Heydinger was out as she was still getting over her stomach virus. Maddie Brothers had pulled a hip muscle and had to be carried off the field in the second half and could not return. Chrissy Metzmaier was suffering from sore knees which slowed one of the team's speediest players. Alice Craig still had a tender forehead from an accident earlier in the week. Finally, Nicole Peyton was testing her foot very hard for the first time since using the late fall and all winter to recover from her injury.
However, the 0-3 loss was enough to advance the Elite to the semi-finals on Sunday against the Ashburn United who won the other bracket in their group. For this game, Tessa Heydinger returned to help her team. Maddie Brothers and Chrissy Metzmaier both arrived with well-wrapped legs. A hard-fought first half saw no goals scored. In the second half, the Elite had a good opportunity in front of the Spirit goal and Amanda MacDonald took advantage of it with a shot that the keeper could not control. The shot deflected off the goalie and had just enough momentum to barely roll into the left corner. However, that was all the Elite needed to propell them to the finals where they would meet the SWYA Spirit again.
Between the games, Tessa Heydinger attempted to rest, but the virus caught up with her and she couldn't eat anything to regain her strength for the finals. Chrissy Metzmaier spent the intermission keeping her knees iced down. Maddie Brothers somehow managed to take the field, but winced in obvious pain every time she tried to sprint. Fortunately, Libby Lyons arrived for the second game so the team would have one substitute to rotate in to rest players.
Logan Knowles and Libby Lyons teamed up to shut down the Spirit player who scored all three of their goals in the first meeting. In the first half, a very high ball took an unlucky bounce off the head of Alice Craig that soared just out of reach of Nicole Merlene and into the net for an own goal. Rather than depressing the team, it fired them up and they came roaring back. Soon they had it. Maddie Brothers with her right leg bandaged for the pulled hip muscle, decided to use her good leg and drove a left footer into the back of the net tying the game. About ten minutes later the Spirit scored on a tremendous wind-assisted corner kick that curled into the net at the far post untouched. In the second half, the scored was evened again when Amanda MacDonald headed a high ball past the keeper. The score was 2-2 at the end of regulation. After a brief rest, the battered Elite took the field for overtime. The injuries had taken their toll with several player visibly limping. Unfortunately, the Spirit scored three minutes into overtime to win the championship. However, the Elite played a very tough game and had great performances from all the players.
Written by Roger Morse, Arlington Elite's Tournament Director