Gulf Coast United U-17 Girls reach region semifinals


Mississippi state champion Gulf Coast United U-17 Girls made a good run last week in the Southern Region III Soccer Tournament in Baton Rouge before falling to the eventual champion Florida Krush in the semifinals.

The tournament ran from June 20-27.

Region III includes teams from South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

After dropping their opener 3-1 to Miami of Florida, Gulf Coast regrouped and beat Alabama 4-1 in their second game. They finished their last group game by beating Oklahoma 4-2, advancing into the quarterfinals against a tough South Carolina team.

In the quarterfinal game, Gulf Coast United beat South Carolina 4-0. That sent them into the Regional III Semifinals against Maitland Black Krush from Florida.

The Black Krush are the Girls U-17 state champions from Florida.

Biloxi's Nikki Brown scored the only Gulf Coast goal, tying the game in the second half at 1-1 with 35 minutes remaining.

Florida regained the lead at 2-1 and added late goal in the final minutes of the game to make the final score 3-1.

The Florida Krush advanced to the championship game where they beat Louisiana Fire 2-1 for the Region III Championship.

The Florida Krush team will now advance to the 2014 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship in Germantown, Maryland July 22-27.

Gulf Coast United Coach Shane Kowalski said, "It is very disappointing to get so close to the championship game and not win. The girls are upset because they are all competitors and wanted to win so badly. I am so proud of these girls and their outstanding accomplishments during these past few years."

The Gulf Coast United U-17 girls have been three-time Gulf States Premier League Champions and five-time state champions.

Kowalski was selected as Region III Outstanding Competitive Coach of the Year at the U.S. Soccer annual banquet held earlier this year in Philadelphia.

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