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WSA 97 BOYS RED FINISH 3rd PLACE OKLAHOMA PREMIERE LEAGUE
The WSA 97 Boys Red team wrapped up the Fall League campaign with an overall third place finish in the Oklahoma Premiere League. In a tough division of league play, in which every match is hotly contested the 97 boys did more than hold their own. The team amassed 12 goals for and 10 against in the upper division, going 3 wins and 3 losses on the season.
To demonstrate the parity of the league WSA lost to TSC 97 the league runners-up by a scoreline of 2-1 after leading much of the game. The team lost 3-0 to OFC 97, the defending Oklahoma State Champions. Coach Wes Branstetter points out that fitness, cameraderie, and belief were all critical keys to success for this team now and into the future. "They are starting to believe they can do great things and it shows in their play," reports Coach Branstetter.
The 97's are credited with attempting to "play out of anything" and to their credit this season the team is beginning to reap the benefits of that player development keystone which is enforced by the 97's coaching staff. Coach Branstetter relates, "The past 2-3 years the team has given up some short term success to learn how to play the game the "right" way." The concept of "creating" the game, rather than "minimalizing" it, has been an important teaching point for the 97's. The team's willingness to sacrifice results and persevere through the obstacles of this demanding approach are now reaping rewards, and more importantly will continue to reap rewards for many years to come as many of the team's players have ambitions to play the game beyond the youth club level.
While the team is credited with attempting to play out of all situations, the team also invokes a stingy defense led by a solid backline, and a hard working midfield. The frontrunners do their part in helping slow down opponents not only by unbalancing teams with their attacking presence but also by participating in defending.
The key moment of the season may have come when the team was level with OK Texans at halftime early in the season. Having just given away a match on a late goal the week before the team was challenged at halftime to be great and to expend all of their energy. The team responded and to their credit earned 3 2nd half goals to earn a decisive 5-2 victory over OK Texans.
The team just returned from the Germantown Invitational (see article on that event later this week) in which they reached the semifinal stage before being eliminated. The team also won the Blitz Invitational earlier this season in the Gold division. Coach Richard Shaughnessy referenced the teams ability to overcome adversity recently in Germantown when they took the field missing two key defenders. "The experience gained was unparalleled and the ability to come together as a team under adversity and play as well as we did was outstanding."
Congratulations WSA 97 Red on a great season!