[W-LEAGUE] The Pali Blues, perennial contenders in the W-League since joining the league six years ago, won their third championship with a 1-0 win over the Laval Comets Sunday at IMG Academy on an own goal by Laval player/coach Cindy Walsh in the 87th minute.
“I feel like everything kind of led to this day,” Pali coach Charlie Naimosaid. “There’s been a lot of adversity, and I just didn’t think they had losing in their mind this year. A lot of times you have talent on your team but you’re just not sure if they’re ready to get it done, but a lot of these kids have stayed to the end and made sacrifices. They really wanted to win this and it made me confident.”
Pali was able to control much of the play with the work of championship MVP Ashley Nick and the UCLA duo of Abby Dahlkemper and Sarah Killion in midfield, but the Blues couldn’t find a way past Laval goalkeeper Genevieve Richard, named the W-League Goalkeeper of the Year.
Richard stopped second-half penalty kick by Stanford star Chioma Ubogagu to keep Laval in the match.
Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year honors went to Welsh international Shan Jones of the Virginia Beach Piranhas. She led the league in goals (11) and points (24) as Virginia Beach compiled the best regular-season record at 10-1-1.
Other honors went to Defender of the Year Blakely Mattern (Carolina Elite Cobras) and Walsh, who was named the Coach of the Year.