3V3 National ChampionsVLSC Lightning 14U Team
by Pat Willis
photography by Kelly Madsen
From July 30 to August 2, 2009, more than 17 soccer teams from Valdosta competed in the Challenge Sports National 3V3 Tournament held at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, Florida. The teams worked hard all summer, training in the heat to stay in shape, refine their skills, and have fun. The VLSC Lightning 14U team went undefeated throughout the tournament and came home National 3V3 Champions.
Four of the six Lightning team members have been training together for five years as part of the Valdosta-Lowndes Soccer Club. The word “team” truly defines this group. They play very well together, passing and making assists for one another in lieu of making personal goals. They play to win. They play for each other. They play for their coach, Brian Dawkins, whom they really love and respect. Coach Dawkins has been coaching the girls for years and calls them “his girls”. Coach Chris Willis, Lowndes High School girls’ soccer coach, assisted Dawkins in training the girls throughout the summer.
Each girl brings different strengths to the game and to the team. One player may have a weak area, but another player steps up and fills the void. They all had great games in the tournament and weak moments during the weekend − but together, they were undefeated!
The team consisted of Katie Willis, Maggie Laine Powell, Brooke Madsen, and Alex Haun from VLSC, along with two guest players: Ainsley Pratt from Tallahassee, Florida, and Carsen Taylor from Albany, Georgia. Katie scored several goals throughout the weekend and contributed great passing and many assists in the tournament. Maggie Laine Powell provided great
defensive assistance in the back as well as scored goals and added assists. Brooke Madsen had consistent play throughout the tournament, scoring most of her goals during the first day and adding good passes to finish up the tournament. She also maintained leadership between games by rallying the team together in preparation for the next game. Alex Haun was consistent throughout the weekend with passing and good technical skills, scoring several goals to help her team to victory. Ainsley was a great defensive player on the field and did not hesitate on a breakaway to take the ball upfield and score a goal. Carson, the newest recruit, used wonderful tactical skills and made several amazing shots which resulted in goals.
The VLSC team scored a total of 36 goals with only 10 goals scored against them in six games.
Game 1: Creeksoccer Hornets (Win 6-1)
Game 2: Moody Maidens (Win 9-2)
Game 3: DSC Soul (Win 7-2)
Game 4: Twisters United (Win 5-2)
Semifinals: Lady Sharks (Win 4-2)
Finals: Creeksoccer Hornets (Win 5-1)