Women's Soccer USA

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August 04, 2008

WPSL Champinship: Ajax 3, Arizona 1

As the final seconds of the 2009 Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) National Final ticked off the clock, and the victorious Ajax America Women (14-3-1) began their team celebration, it almost felt like a family affair. In a certain sense, it most certainly was as the defense and offense seemed to meld fluidly this weekend with the Bosio sisters - Dani (defender) & Kiki (forward) - taking home Co-MVP honors in the 3-1 victory over the Arizona Rush (10-2-3) for the 2008 WPSL National champions.
The Ajax defense led by All-WPSL defender Dani Bosio clamped down on a young and athletic Arizona offense, only allowing a 30-yard strike from University of Arizona's Kelly Nelson past All-Tournament goalkeeper Alli Lipsher. The Ajax offense was bolstered by the return of U.S. U-23 forward Kiki Bosio on this night, with their attacking volume turned up to 11 (ala Spinal Tap) as soon as she stepped on the field.
Setting up the first & second goals of the match, while notching the insurance goal, Bosio was a true difference-maker for Brain Boswell's side. However, the casual observer could easily witness that the true success of his side was a complete team effort.
"Its been a long time coming," said Boswell, as the last WPSL title for Ajax came in 2001 with his team making three straight trips to the Final Four (2006-08). "We're real happy with this one. over the last couple of [Final Fours], we've been the bridesmaid and it feels good to be the winner. We're just a great team... it doesn't matter who's out there. We just play very well as a team. We play well for each other - more than any superstars."
"Brian just told us to play our game tonight," said Kiki Bosio, also a star forward for coach Jerry Smith at Division I powerhouse Santa Clara. "Let us dictate the game and let them defend us - not the other way around."
And so they did, as Ajax would hold the run of possession through the first half but would find quality scoring chances hard to find via the Arizona's young, physical and determined defense - led by All-Tournament selections Analisa Marquez and Lindsey Johnson. Midway through the half, though, All-Tournament selection Renee Scachetti would beat Rush keeper Emalee Rogers (4 saves) to a flighted ball into the penalty area, but her header would sail just over the cross bar.
In the 28th minute, Ajax would threaten again as Leah Wilson had a point-blank shot on Rogers, but the Big Sky Conference of the Year would save smartly and push the shot away for a corner. But then in the 33rd minute, Arizona's Nelson would repeat her shooting prowess from the day before in the WPSL Semifinal win over New England, firing another 30-yard bomb for the first goal of the match.
Even with her full extension dive at the shot, Ajax goalkeeper Alli Lipsher (2 saves) could only watch the shot fly just over her fingertips and underneath the crossbar. Ajax would respond in high order, as Kiki Bosio initiated the offensive rush that led to the tying goal in the 39th minute.
Bosio broke down the right flank, sending in a low, hard drive across the face of goal that the Rush defense couldn't properly clear. Scachetti would redeem herself in clinical fashion, as she pounced on the loose ball and finished under the dive of Rogers and inside the far post. The half would end with the score tied at 1-1.
It didn't take much time in the second half for Ajax to get their second goal, as the dangerous flip throw-in from Kiki Bosio proved too much for the Rush defense to handle. Essentially a corner kick from the left sideline, Bosio let fly and Myisha Delaney pounced on the knockdown for the 2-1 lead in the 47th minute - which proved the be the eventual gamewinner. The Rush offense could not get anything going against the experienced unity of the Ajax team defense in the second half and were held to only one shot on Lipsher.
With a little over 13 minutes remaining, Kiki Bosio would again prove to be a handful, attacking deep down the left flank and drawing a yellow card infraction on Arizona's Danielle Morin. All-Tournament selection Brooke O'Hanley would drive the free kick towards the face of the goal, which would force another knockdown and Bosio finished for the final score of 3-1.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Dani Bosio/Kiki Bosio (Ajax).
ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Marcia Foltz (MYSC Lady Blues), Mary-Frances Monroe (N.E. Mutiny), Danielle Dakin (N.E. Mutiny), Kelly Nelson (Arizona), Analisa Marquez (Arizona), Lindsey Johnson (Arizona), Kiki Bosio (Ajax), Dani Bosio (Ajax), Brooke O'Hanley (Ajax), Renee Scachetti (Ajax), Alli Lipsher (Ajax).
AJAX STARTERS: Lipsher (GK), D. Bosio, Scachetti, Scholl, O'Hanley, Brewer, Bognanno, Delaney, Cross, Wilson, Alfiler.
ARIZONA STARTERS: Rogers (GK), Balcer, McDonald, Moore, Heath, Johnson, Morin, Davis, Bednarz, Nelson, Marquez.
STATS: Shots - 13-5 (Ajax); Saves - 4-2 (Arizona); Fouls - 6-6; Corner Kicks - 7-2 (Ajax).

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