The weekend of January 16th – 20th, the U12 Tier 1 Valley Jr. Warriors traveled to Tampa Bay to compete against many of the top U12 teams in the country.
The Warriors opened up the tournament against the Cleveland Lady Barons and got off to a fast start and tallying 4 goals in the first period and never looked back, posting a 4-0 win. The following morning the Jr. Warriors faced off against #7 ranked Team Illinois and jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. However, Illinois responded with a strong second period to open up a 3-1 lead and added an empty netter in the final minute to post a 4-1 win.
Later that evening afternoon the Warriors faced top 15 team in the country, #12 Chicago Young Americans. Once again the Warriors jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first period on goal by Lilly McInerney. Chicago answered back with goal in the second and then Cara Kuczek, shut down the Young Americans from that point on to preserve a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation play. In the shootout, Brooke Harb scored on the first shot and Cara Kuczek made 3 straight saves to give VJW a 2-1 shootout win. With a 1-1-1 record, the next game against St. Louis Lady Blues was going to be very important. The Warriors started off fast again and Mia Lava scored on the second shift of the game. The Blues were able to rally back and respond on two separate occasions for a 2-2 tie at the end of regulation. The Warriors were on the other side of the shootout this time and lost by one goal to post 1-1-2 record in round robin play.
With 6 overall points after 4 games, the Warriors received the 7th seed going into the quarterfinals and were slotted for a rematch against the 2nd seed and #7 nationally, Team Illinois. The Warriors were ready for the challenge and put everything they had on the line. Lauren Roeder scored for the team in the second period to take a 1-0 lead. VJW skated fast all game and Kuczek was strong between the pipes as the Warriors held Illinois off the scoreboard to earn the 1-0 win. The win over Team Illinois put the Warriors in the semi-finals against the #3 team in the nation, MA Spitfires. This was going to be another big test for the Warriors and the Spitfires got on the board first with an early strike. In the second period, the Warriors found their game and played hard all the way to the final buzzer. Unfortunately, the Warriors could not find the back of the net and after hitting two posts in the third period, they lost by a final score of 1-0. After all the results this weekend, the Jr. Warrior U12 team has now taken over the # 11 ranking in the United States.
Great effort all weekend by the team!