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With a 3-0 record in pool play, the Wilson Youth Soccer Association’s ’06 Explosion 14U Girls Gold was the sole local team to procure a first-place finish at the 10th installment of the Summer Explosion Cup, held Saturday and Sunday.
Held at Gillette Soccer Complex and a battery of fields around the city, the tournament attracted a total of 105 club teams from North Carolina and Virginia, making it the second-largest Explosion Cup in history. It was only one off from the event record of 106, set in 2012. Each team in the field was guaranteed three games.
Coached by Thomas Goines, the ’06 Explosion entered the tournament ranked No. 9 in North Carolina among Gold teams and stood inside the top 75 nationally at No. 73.
In its four-team division, the Explosion conceded just one goal in pool play, defeating Onslow County Soccer Association’s Coastal Crew 5-1 and the North Carolina Football Club’s Breakers 9-0 on Saturday.
But a 4-0 win over AC Sandhills Orange on Sunday was just the middle game for the Explosion. The team spent the morning fulfilling their obligation to the National League’s Piedmont Conference before coming back and playing in two Explosion Cup matches. After WYSA Executive Director Richard Frazier stepped in to coach the team against Sandhills, they posted a 2-0 shutout of OCSA Coastal Crew in the bracketed final.
Three WYSA teams — the U-11 Girls Gold, U-12 Boys Gold, and U-19 Girls Gold turned in runner-up performances.
The U-12 Boys Gold team won pool play with a 2-1 record, despite letting in 10 goals along the way. But in the final, it suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Pleasure Island Soccer Association Hurricanes.
In a six-team U-11 Girls Gold division, WYSA entered two representatives and saw its ‘10 Explosion reach the championship round after winning a pair of pool play games. After a 2-1 win over the PISA Hurricanes in the semifinals, the U-11 girls were stopped 5-0 by North Carolina Football Club Gold HSFV in the finals.
In U-19 Girls Gold, WYSA’s Premier team produced a 3-1 record in pool play, with the only setback a 3-1 loss to unbeaten Virginia City FC. The U-19 Girls event was pool play only at five teams.