CASSA celebrates tournament championship

Pictured are (front row, l–r) Autumn Hinton, Myla Umphrey, Julia VanDenHout, Maddi Case, Shelby Shotko, Carly McCuaig; (middle row) Payton Rumsey, Skyler Calati, Baylie VanDyke, Sydney Plummer, Jordan Falk, Leah Kuzma, Ally Meek; (back row) Assistant Coach Jake Holtrop, Coach Timothy Hinton, and Assistant Coach John Rumsey.

The Cedar Area Select Soccer Association (CASSA) U12 Girls Red Soccer Team is celebrating the club’s first-ever Cherry Capital Cup Tournament Championship. The team sealed the championship on Sunday, May 20 with a 4-3 win over the Grand Rapids Crew.

The CASSA team started the tournament on Saturday, May 19 with a 2-1 (Myla Umphrey, Sydney Plummer) victory over a Striker Cooling team. They continued their winning ways with a 2-1 (Baylie VanDyke, Plummer) win over Rapids FC. They finished the qualifying round on Sunday with a very convincing 4-0 (Umphrey, VanDyke, Jordan Falk, Julia VanDenHout) shutout over RSC Lightning. This victory was even more amazing given the fact that two girls were playing with significant injuries with another girl not being able to return due to her injury.

“Maddi Case sustained a foot injury one day prior to the tournament, and Autumn Hinton and Leah Kuzma were injured during our second game, which required them to go to the ER,” explained Coach Timothy Hinton. “Case is a really tough kid and in spite of her injury she did not miss any of the games. We were also fortunate that despite her injury, Hinton was determined to return and played in Sunday’s qualifier game and the championship game. And although Kuzma was out for the remainder of the tournament, she showed great team spirit by staying and supporting the team from the sidelines.”

The championship game kicked off at 3 p.m. and after 50 minutes of regulation play and two five-minute overtime periods, the score was tied 3-3 (Payton Rumsey, Hinton, Vandyke). The game was finally won on a thrilling 3-2 shootout. Players Plummer, Skyler Calati and Hinton all made their penalty shots with goalkeeper VanDenHout making three fantastic saves.

“It was our constant pressure from our defensive players [Calati, Case, Ally Meek, Plummer, and Shelby Shotko], and our constant attack from the midfield [Hinton, Kuzma, Carly McCuaig, Plummer, Rumsey, Umphrey, and VanDyke] and forward players [Falk, Hinton, and VanDenHout] that allowed our team to go undefended and win the championship,” said Coach Hinton. “Our team motto this spring season has been to ‘finish’ and the girls definitely lived up to that during the tournament.”

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