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August 04, 2008

W-League all-Tournament team announced

United Soccer Leagues announced Monday the W-League Championship All-Tournament Team led by Pali Blues defender Amy LePeilbet, who was honored Saturday following her side’s 2-1 championship victory as Most Valuable Player.

W-League Championship All-Tournament Team
G Jessica Salvi, Seattle Sounders
D Amy LePeilbet, Pali Blues
D Emily Janss, Washington Freedom
D Kandace Wilson, Pali Blues
M Kelly Parker, FC Indiana Lionesses
M Fatima Leyva, FC Indiana Lionesses
M Lori Lindsey, Washington Freedom
M Jessica O’Rourke, FC Indiana Lionesses
F Christie Welsh, Washington Freedom
F Danesha Adams, Pali Blues
F Laura Del Rio, FC Indiana Lionesses
W-League Championship MVP
D Amy LePeilbet, Pali Blues

LePeilbet led defensively and offensively for Pali BluesLePeilbet scored the biggest goal of the year for the Blues when she headed home the equalizing tally in 83rd minute of the W-League Championship game. That goal brought the Blues back to life and eventually led to the game-winner just five minutes later. LePeilbet was also strong defensively as she led a backline that surrendered only one goal during the Final Four weekend.

Although battling a hamstring injury the entire weekend, FC Indiana forward Laura Del Rio made her presence felt. She came on in the 61st minute in their semifinal victory over the Seattle Sounders and set up the game-winning goal with beautiful one touch pass to Fatima Leyva. Del Rio was also dangerous throughout the championship game as her play-making ability was on display against a tough Pali defense.

Washington forward Christie Welsh was one of the most dominant players on the weekend as she continued to force her will on the opposition. Welsh hit the post twice in Washington’s semifinal matchup against the Pali Blues and drew heavy praise from Blues coach Charlie Naimo.

“No one this year has been able to push us as much defensively as Welsh did tonight,” said Naimo after their semifinal contest. “I give her all the credit in the world.”

Welsh finally found the back of the net early in the Third Place Game against the Seattle Sounders as she put away what would stand as the game-winner.

Arguably the most impressive offensive performance of the weekend was turned in by Pali forward Danesha Adams in the Blues semifinal matchup against the Washington Freedom. Adams scored both goals for the Blues and demonstrated her athletic superiority throughout the contest. Adams also drew the attention of the entire FC Indiana defense in the championship game, which gave her teammates more space and helped lead to the two winning goals.

One of the most consistent and dangerous player of the weekend was FC Indiana midfielder Kelly Parker. Parker at times during FC Indiana’s semifinal and championship games was the best player on the field and almost willed her team to victory over the Blues.

Pali head coach Charlie Naimo, who has faced Parker many times over the past few seasons while coaching in the northeast, could not say enough good things about Parker and called her performance over the weekend, “the best I’ve ever seen her play.” Parker’s amazing runs up and down the field wowed the crowd and made for some anxious moments for her opponents the entire weekend.

FC Indiana midfielder Fatima Leyva was the only player the entire weekend to score points in both games, and her goal in the first semifinal match set the tone for a great weekend of soccer. Leyva gained possession in the midfield and quickly maneuvered her way around two Seattle defenders before playing a beautiful give and go with Laura Del Rio and finished with a striker’s grace in the lower left hand corner. Leyva also began the scoring in the Championship match when she sent a curling corner kick in the 47th minute that found the head of FC Indiana midfielder Jessica O’Rourke.

Washington midfielder Lori Lindsey was a force in the middle both games and she clearly showed her importance to the Freedom team. Against the Pali Blues in the semifinals Lindsey linked up with forward Christie Welsh throughout the game and was the main force in controlling the possession battle against the Blues. The Third Place game with the Sounders was more of the same with Lindsey controlling the midfield and tipping the balance of the field in Washington’s direction as most of the game was played in Seattle’s end of the field.

FC Indiana midfielder Jessica O’Rourke played one of the best games of the playoffs and almost sent the Lionesses to the top of the W-League with her amazing championship performance. O’Rourke’s main goal in the championship game was to be a disruption to Pali forwards Danesha Adams and India Trotter. She made life difficult for those two players and limited the amount of space they had to play with. O’Rourke did that beautifully throughout the contest and frustrated both forwards while she was on the field.

Not only did O’Rourke display her strength defensively, but she was also responsible for getting FC Indiana on the scoreboard. O’Rourke soared in the air over two Pali defenders and headed in a cross from teammate Fatima Leyva that gave the Lionesses the lead and put Pali in a trailing position for the first time this season.

Washington defender Emily Janss played all 180 minutes for the Freedom and was a force both defensively and offensively. Janss displayed her quickness on the flanks in both games as she made life miserable for the opposing defenses by making dangerous runs down the sidelines. Janss was also a workhorse defensively as her constant energy and production led to the shutout of Seattle and the frustration of the offensives from both Pali and the Sounders.

The versatility of Pali defender Kandace Wilson was on full display over the weekend as this standout defender showed she can help win games in more ways than one. In the Blues semifinal victory over Washington her athleticism help keep the Freedom forwards at bay and her constant work rate made her a tough defender to beat. Wilson’s big moment came near the end of the championship game when her coach Charlie Naimo moved her to forward to create more energy in the Pali attack. That move paid dividends in the 88th minute when Wilson flew down the left side and sent a cross through the outstretched hands of FC Indiana goalie Kristen Luckenbill and found the head of an incoming Ilaria Pasqui.

Seattle goalkeeper Jessica Salvi was the lone Sounders representative to make the W-League Championship All-Tournament team. Salvi played a courageous game in net for Seattle in their 1-0 setback to FC Indiana. However, if it wasn’t for Salvi, the score could have been much worse. Salvi showed no fear the entire match as she put her body on the line in making clearing punches and several diving saves that put the upstart Sounders in position to make it to the W-League Championship game.

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