The Marin Under-14 girls Blue soccer team, fresh from advancing to the National Cup championship game in Virginia Beach (where they lost a close game to the number 2 ranked team in the country), were looking to improve on their new #28 national ranking in the prestigious Danville Stampede tournament which features many of California’s top teams. Marin hoped to maintain its streak of reaching the championship game in every tournament this year. This would be severely tested as the other three teams in their bracket included the #1 ranked team in the nation, as well as the #22 and #34 ranked teams! And the remaining 12 teams in the other 3 brackets included the #3 and #6 nationally ranked teams. Marin’s first game against the #34 ranked Rampage of Los Angeles ended in a 0-0 tie. Marin then pulled out a 1-0 victory over the #22 ranked San Juan Spirit of Sacramento. This led to the critical game against #1 ranked Surf White of Laguna Beach. The winning team would advance to the playoff round; the losing team would be eliminated. In a hard-fought game, Marin prevailed 2-1. In the quarterfinal game, Marin defeated Crew 95 of Livermore 2-1. This led to a showdown in the semifinal with West Coast FC United, the #3 nationally ranked team. Marin again prevailed in a defensive struggle by a 1-0 score. In the championship game, Marin faced the home team, the #6 nationally ranked Mustang Fury of Danville. This game was at 2 pm so it was at the peak of the day’s 97 degree high. Add another 5-10 degrees on the field as the games were played on Astroturf. Plus this was the sixth game in 3 days in these conditions. In a stellar defensive battle, both teams had just a few scoring opportunities and the game ended in a 0-0 tie. This was followed by two scoreless 7 minute overtime periods. The game then proceeded to penalty kicks. The Mustangs proceeded to put on a penalty kick clinic with 4 of their 5 shots being placed in the far right and far left corners of the goal, not allowing the goalie to have a chance at making a save. However the Marin goalie was able to stop one of the shots with a diving block. Marin converted three of their penalty kicks but one shot went over the cross bar and one was blocked by the goalie so Marin lost on penalty kicks, with the final score reflected as 1-0. Playing against some of the best teams in the country, Marin scored 5 goals and, not counting the penalty kick in the championship game, only allowed 1 goal in 6 games! After defeating the #1 and #3 ranked teams in the nation, Marin’s national ranking is now #10. Leading the offensive charge with goals were Camille Wilson, Chace Shornstein, Yessenia Nolasco-Ramirez, Callie Edblom and Alyssa Bunim. Controlling the play at midfield were Alexis Tye, Lindsay Bettinger, Alina Martinez, Julia Matos, and Sophie Breck. The defense was led by left back Claire Renk, center back Ruby Baumbaugh, right center back Alissa Huntington, right back Cordelia Peters and goalie Maddie Cincebeaux. The team is looking forward to Candy Janachowski returning to the team next week after recovering from an injury.