The Rockford Raptors U-15 team won its final tournament without high school players, closing out the Illinois Cup undefeated after a 1-0 win over Libertyville on Wednesday night at Sportscore Two.
“This team just has a different kind of mindset than most teams this age,” Raptors U-15 head coach Mike Rizzo said. “And it shows out there. This was a great tournament for these girls. They really brought it.”
The squad went 4-0 in Illinois Cup tourney games to claim the title, the lone Illinois Cup title for the Raptors’ organization this year.
The high school girls are wrapping up their seasons and will join their club teams soon. But they weren’t there for this one, and the remaining Raptors U-15 girls found a way to win it anyway.
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“We’ve just kind of adapted to not having the high schoolers, and we’ve come together,” said forward Joscelyn Posada, who had three goals in the tournament, including the game-winner Wednesday. “This kind of tournament definitely gives me a lot of confidence, and gives this team a lot of confidence.”
Goalie Natalia Razo allowed just one goal in the four games, and Araceli Delgado led the Raptors with five goals in the tourney, while Sydney Stovall added two. But it was Posada’s third of the four-game swing that proved to be the tourney clincher.
“That was a corner-kick play that we just know, and it played right out for us,” Posada said. “I got it to go in, and then we shut them down the rest of the way.
“It really felt good.”
It also completed a stretch that led to a qualification for the National League Pro showcase. The Raptors are one of only three teams from Illinois that were selected for the elite tourney. The tournament schedule has not yet been released.
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But there are two more summer tourneys scheduled at Sportscore Two, starting with the Puri Cup College Showcase, Part 2, on June 25-27. This will be the first summer tourney to include the high school players, and it will also be the first time most of the Division I college coaches will be on-hand scouting.
The Puri Cup College Showcase, Part 3, will be on July 23-25, and that will be the last tournament of the summer season. Both of the college showcases will include both boys and girls teams.
Jay Taft: firstname.lastname@example.org; @JayTaft