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 Naimo
said. “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
UCLA duo of Abby Dahlkemper
and Sarah Killion
in midfield, but the Blues couldn’t find a way past Laval goalkeeper
, 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
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.