MVLA Lightning: Lightning News

Monday, June 25
Lightning Reclaims Region IV Title
Phoenix, AZ .... Playing in weeklong 100+ degree weather, the Lightning girls took Arizona by storm.  On the road to the championship they knocked off two local Arizona teams, Hawaii, Las Vegas, and Washington. With a few 6-0 routs in the preliminaries, the girls did not take the competition lightly.  With the penalty kick elimination in Boise last year still burning in their minds, the girls came together with one objective.  Captain Caitlyn Wong said, "We know we can do this, for the 6 seniors this is our last chance to get to Nationals.  I've never seen the team so focused." The championship match against Arizona State Champ, Sereno, was all that it was hyped to be -- a very fast, skilled and physical game.  Arizona seemed to hunker back on defense in the first half to see what Lightning was going to dish out.  First half stats were quite telling (Sereno had 1 shot on frame and Lightning had 8).  It didn't seem like Sereno would be able to hang on, but their familiarity with the blazing Arizona sun and the contingent of local fans kept them fightning.  Lightning seemed to have jumped out in front when Jaye Boissiere ripped a shot that appeared to go into the upper, inside part of the net, bounce down and was quickly collected by the Sereno keeper. However the AR was not in position to make the call and the goal was denied. 0-0 at the end of regulation and two 15-minute overtime periods, the game fell to kicks from the spot.  Lightning is no stranger to a penalty shoot out, having won the National Championships in 2010 by kicks.  One of the original four Lightning players and keeper, Jacq Caginia said, "I wasn't worried about going to pks.  We missed the frame a few times last year at Regionals in Boise and I knew everyone remembered that. Our kickers have been solid in practice, so I totally trusted them." And on to kicks it went.  Sereno hit their first one, Sarah Robinson nailed the first MVLA kick.  Jacq blocked the second Sereno kick, Fatmata Kamara nailed the second MVLA kick.  Sereno hit their third kick, Gabby Kaplan blasted the third MVLA kick into the net.  The Sereno fourth kick was blocked by Jacq, Megan Keeth punched in the fourth and final MVLA kick past the Sereno keeper who dove early. Then the on-field celebration began.  Coach Montoya said, "This was a great week for the girls. I am so proud of each of them. They deserve another shot at the National Title."  They are now back home and preparing for the National Championships the final week of July in South Carolina.  Good Luck, girls!!

Tuesday, June 26
FLASHBACK - MVLA Lightning Spring 2004 (U8)

U8 Jamboree. L to R: Erin (sister), Melissa, Sarah, Jaye, Jacq, Hope
Rosita Field, Los Altos ... It was the U8 season when Sarah Robinson, Jaye Boissiere, Melissa Fulton, Jacq Caginia, and a then pregnant Coach Erin Montoya launched the Lightning squad.  With Erin sidelined with her pregnancy, Coaches Nancy Ikeda and Maria Jones filled in and started the girls on a regimen of ball juggling and foot skill training - those very skills that have catapulted Lightning to the stratosphere of "Nation's Best" teams.  The girls played in multiple jamborees in their U8 year, winning nothing.  Nada.  The emphasis from the coaching staff was getting the girls comfortable with their touches on the ball.  "Winning at U8 is not our objective," said MVLA Director of Coaching, Albertin Montoya.  Those U8 parent meetings were certainly interesting.  Albertin and Erin Montoya had bigger ideas for these girls and the program overall.  Collecting trophies and medals was not the goal but would be a fruit of their labor in the later years as the girls continued perfecting their skills and applying them at the right time in game situations. (yes, the trophies came.) In the developing years the original four players went to weekly clinics together to improve their skills, they had many sleepovers, playdates, soccer-themed birthday parties, went to some summer soccer camps together, and guest played together with other local teams.  They had fun.  They were a silly group of 4 pigtailed girls with a love of soccer.  They supported eachother through some heartbreaking losses as well as a laundry list of sidelining injuries. As of June 2012, these four girls have played in an astounding 432 games together.  Now, at U16, this tight knit group have tasted success together winning Surf Cup twice, multiple State and Regional Championships, and a National title.  At least two of them will remain teammates in their collegiate years as Sarah and Jaye have made verbal commitments to Stanford University.  (Melissa and Jacq remain undecided at the time of this article.) The Montoyas provided the perfect blend of encouragement, reward, fun, intensity, and soccer education for these girls, and all the players that have since joined Lightning.  Congrats on 9 incredible seasons together! Best of luck in the upcoming year.

Wednesday, June 1
Preparation for Regional Championships - Scrimmage Schedule

In preparation for the upcoming USYSA Region IV Championships in Boise, Idaho the Lightning will be scrimmaging the following teams:

Sunday, June 5th vs. Mustang Blast (GU16, 2011 State Cup Champions) 5:15 p.m. at the Mustang Soccer Complex, 4680 Camino Tassajara, Danville

Saturday, June 11th vs. Mustang Fury (GU15) 11:00 a.m. at Mountain View High School, Mountain View

Sunday, April 17
MVLA Lightning Wins Cal-North State Cup
Elk Grove, CA ...  The Lightning girls took home their 3rd State Cup Championship trophy this weekend in sunny Elk Grove.  With a record of 5 consecutive appearances in the State Cup finals, the girls were able to hand a 5-0 defeat to the Livermore Maroon team. Throughout the U15 State Cup run, 13 different players scored at least 1 goal. The girls will now continue their preparation to defend their Regional Championship title from last summer.  On to Idaho!   In other news, the U14 MVLA Mercury Black and U18 MVLA Avalanche also clinched State Cup titles.

Sunday, April 10
Lightning Success on the US National Team
Lightning players Gabby, Paige, Sarah and Catilyn have all worked hard and achieved tremendous recognition by the US Soccer National Team this Spring. Each have been called into National training camps to represent their respective age groups. Many other Lightning players have also received recognition for their skills and hard work through call ups into the US Soccer sponsored Training Centers. Awesome work girls, keep it up!!!

Tuesday, March 1
Congrats to Lightning CCS Champions

San Jose, CA ... Congratulations to Lightning players Jacq, Paige and Mel who won the CCS Division I Championship (2 years in a row) for St. Francis High School. Also to G and Hannah who won the CCS Division II championship for Archbishop Mitty High. Kudos to Gabby, as part of the Castilleja team, for taking the CCS team award for highest GPA.

Tuesday, July 27
MVLA Lightning - 2010 US Youth Soccer National Champions

Overland Park, Kansas.... MVLA Lightning has done what they set out to do. They have captured the US Youth Soccer National Championship in the under-14 girls age group. What an amazing accomplishment

Thursday, July 29
California, Texas Club Soccer Teams Sweep US Youth Soccer National Titles (ESPN)

Thursday, July 29
Dallas Star News Article on MVLA Lightning vs. Dallas Sting Championship Final

Thursday, July 29
Lightning Strikes Twice at US Youth Soccer National Championships (CYSA)

Thursday, July 29
First Champions Crowned at US Youth Soccer National Championships (US Youth Soccer)

Thursday, July 29
Lightning Strikes for National Soccer Title (Palo Alto Daily News)

Monday, July 5
National Ranking Update - MVLA Lightning Ranked #1 by both GotSoccer and National Soccer Rankings
After winning the Far West Regional League and then claiming the Region IV Championship, Lightning has (for the first time) climbed atop both recognized ranking charts.  While GotSoccer and National Soccer Rankings have their unique calculation and awards points/rank with different criteria, they currently have Lightning sitting in the #1 spot in the USA.  To really own that spot, the girls will have to bring their A game to Overland Park, Kansas and prove they are indeed the best of the best.

Sunday, July 4
Weather Report: Sunny with a chance of LIGHTNING at ODP Region IV Camp in Idaho

Moscow, Idaho ... Just a day after watching the spectacular Fourth of July fireworks, nine Lighting players will descend upon the University of Idaho to show off their own sparks on the field at the Region IV ODP Camp.  Lightning 95s: Caitlyn, Jacq and Sed and Lightning 96s: Melissa, GabbyK, Sarah, Jaye, Paige, and Julia will be in attendance. No rest for the weary, however! After a week in New Mexico for the Regional Championships these ODP players had a week of preparation and training to be in their best shape for the camp. The girls will vie for a spot (in their respective age groups) on the Regional Pool of approximately 30 players who will have a chance to attend a follow-on camp in Ontario, CA at the end of July. In fact...just two days following the National Championships in Kansas. Whoa! Some of these players may be in for quite a month of soccer.  Good luck, girls!! Stay healthy!

Monday, July 28
MVLA Lightning Takes Home the Coveted Surf Cup!!
Surf 2008
2008 Nike Surf Cup Champions
Del Mar, CA ... Wow! Wow! Wow!  The Lightning girls started off the 2008/2009 season with a BANG, taking home the prestigious, Premier Elite-rated, Nike Surf Cup Championship. After a hard loss in the State Cup Championship match the girls were out to show that they had the focus and resolve to play with the best and take home one of the biggest tournaments in the USA.  They accomplished just that.  With players returning from vacations just a week before the tournament, 4 players returning from Regional ODP Camp in Stockton, and Coach Erin stepping back a little due to pregnancy ... the Lightning fans weren't quite sure what to expect.  But, WHOA, they were all in for a sweet treat.  Surf is an unforgiving tournament and one tie or one loss in bracket play can prevent you from moving on. Consistency is key.  A team cannot be complacent, and cannot afford to have a bad game.  The Lightning girls played with intensity from the first game of the weekend through the sixth game.  In bracket play the girls got off to a lukewarm start against the NWN Red team from Washington, but the 2-1 score was enough to earn 8 points. Then Lightning faced the Tophat Gold team from Atlanta and put up a clean 2-0 score. For the last game in bracket play, the girls faced the SoCal State Champions, Slammers FC, in their first ever match-up.  Lightning came out hard! With 5 solid shots that rebounded on or off the Slammers goal, the scoreboard didn't reflect the amazing effort by the MVLA crew. "We've heard a lot about the Slammer team, but we weren't afraid to take them on," said a Lightning d-mid. The 2-1 win over Slammers was enough to give Lightning the top spot in the Bracket and earned them the honor of playing the D'Feeters of Texas for their quarterfinal opponent. With a few hours of rest, MVLA completely dominated the D'Feeters in the quarters, shutting them out with a 2-0 score and resting many of the starting line-up. Lightning kept the Texas keeper busy with an impressive 16 shots on goal in the quarterfinal. Next up was a rematch with the Vancouver Whitecaps for the semifinal match. (Whitecaps put up a 1-0 win over MVLA last year in bracket play at Surf). It was the Whitecaps win over Mustang Fury in bracket play that knocked the Regional Champions out of the tournament. Lightning felt obligated to avenge both their prior loss to the 'Caps and also that of their East Bay friends. Although significantly outsized, the Lightning girls played their game and controlled the semifinal match from start to finish enabling Coach Albertin to rest many of the players for the final. A Mustang Fury midfielder (who is also a Regional ODP teammate of two Lightning players) said, "We're out here to support our friends from MVLA. We hope they crush the Whitecaps!" Even with the early 8:30 a.m. start, the Fury players and parents showed up to support MVLA and NorCal soccer.  The Championship match against the fierce Surf White team was the hardest match by far.  It was a game that could have gone either way and the win would have been well deserved by either team. Though never trailing in the 4-3 match, the Surf pounded and pounded away on Lightning's fabulous defense.  Fortunately, it was Lightning who was able to squeeze in that extra goal to put them ahead in regulation and ultimately to win the game. After Coach Albertin lept 4 feet in the air he said, "Surf Cup is the most talented field of teams of any tournament in the country. It took every single player on the team to make this championship a reality. It took the combined determination and will to go out and do their job from each and every player. We won this as a team and I am so proud of them." Congratulations girls! We are all so proud of you.  ...  Next up for Lightning is the Nike sponsored Mustang Stampede tournament in Danville.

Coach Albertin Proudly Hoists the Surf Cup Trophy

2008 Nike Mustang Stampede Champions
Monday, November 23
Mustang Stampede Champions

Sunday, June 27
MVLA Lightning Brings Home the Region IV Championship to NorCal
Award Ceremony
Albuquerque, NM ... they did what they said they would do....they did it as a team...they did it in convincing fashion. They are the undisputed Region IV Champions (undefeated in FWRL League play and undefeated in the Region IV Championships). Altitude - no big deal. Extreme heat (100F+) - didn't phase them.  Pressure - what pressure?  The Lightning squad went into New Mexico with one objective... WIN.  And win they did! Six wins, no ties, no losses. Amassing 17 goals and giving up only one. No other team that competed in the Region IV Championships - boys  or girls - can boast of 10 unique players scoring during the tournament.  Caroline, Celeste, Sarah, Gabby, JC, Paige, Caitlyn, Hannah, Sed, and G all found the back of the net and contributed to Lightning's goal tally.  

Monday, November 23
Lightning Captures TWO Fall League Championships
San Jose, CA & Temecula, CA ... With resolve, dedication, intense training and a little bit of playing through pain the Lightning claimed their 6th straight D2/Abronzino Fall League title with a tremendous 10-0-0 record. Just two weeks following that accomplishment the girls took their best game to Temecula for a showdown with the SoCal powerhouses Arsenal (ranked #1 in the nation by AND National Soccer Ranking) and West Coast Futbol Club (ranked #2 in the nation by and the State Cup Champions from Las Vegas, the mighty Neusport Green team. The girls came out strong and determined to earn the berth to the Regional Championships in New Mexico in June. They were sore, they were hungry and they were ready. First, in probably the best soccer match of the year for MVLA, they took down the Arsenal Gunners 1-0. Followed that up with a 1-0 victory over West Coast with an incredible game winning goal by Caitlyn. And in the third and deciding match against Neusport, Lightning did not let down and peppered the Neusport goal with shot after shot, putting 2 inside the net.  Amazing work girls!! Defense was stellar posting 3 SHUT OUTS in the weekend. Overall in the FWRL League, the girls had an impressive record of 8-0-1, tying only the Neusport team in bracket play. Now several of the players head off to high school soccer and we will see the entire team back together in late February for State Cup preparation.  The girls are headed to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Region IV championships in June regardless of State Cup placement.  Good work girls, enjoy the holidays and some well earned down time.

Tuesday, October 20
Lightning in the Community
special olympic 09
Lightning Players with Special Olympians from San Francisco
San Jose, CA ... Three of the Lightning players spent their day volunteering at the Northern California State Cup for Special Olympics soccer. The girls got up early and withstood the very chilly 45F weather at Gunderson High School to assist those less fortunate. Mel, Jacq and Jess geared up in their finest referee attire and lent a hand refereeing some very special and talented players leave it all out on the field for a chance to advance to the finals (being held in Sacramento in mid November). The Lightning players enjoyed the day refereeing games and also interacting with the players and showing off some of their skills. When these girls aren't playing or training for soccer, they are out participating in soccer in some fashion. Thanks for being a good example girls and good luck to all of the teams advancing to the next round.

Saturday, September 26
Far West Regional League Update

Las Vegas, NV ... Lightning finished up their bracket play against the Nevada State Cup Champions, Neusport Green, and against the Tucson Soccer Academy from Arizona. The weather was very hot on the artificial turf but the girls came out to play hard and give their best for the final two preliminary games. Saturday morning, they ended in a 0-0 tie against Neusport and in the afternoon, pulled off an impressive 5-0 win over the Arizona TSA team. Two of the girls returned to play after weeks off due to injury. Everyone was glad to see Caroline and Mari back out on the field. GabbyK and Jaye remain sideline and their returns are still 'tbd'.  The fans can't wait to get the entire team healthy and playing together. Hopefully the Lightning results in the preliminary round matches will solidify their chance of making it to the final round-robin championship round in Temecula, CA, the weekend prior to Thanksgiving. 4 wins and 1 tie should be enough to advance.

In the games this weekend in Las Vegas, the MVLA production crew outdid themselves, broadcasting the match through G-SNAP as well as using live streaming video using Ustream.  The Lightning followers unable to make the trip to Vegas were given a chance to watch the girls in action, with audio and G-SNAP feedback.  The reviews were very positive and it looks like this same technology will be employed in future travel matches.

Good Luck to Lightning as they now resume D2 Fall league play and start preparing for the State ODP Playdates. Keep up the good work Ladies !

Sunday, August 16
A Good Pre-Season Start for Lightning

Morgan Hill, CA ... The Lightning girls are off to an impressive start for the beginning of the 2009-2010 season. With one summer tournament under their belt (Surf Cup) and the first round of preliminary games of the Far West Regional League (FWRL) completed, the girls are getting into a rhythm.  The intensity has certainly ratcheted back up with the return of Lightning starters - GabbyK, Melissa and Jess - who were all sidelined due to major injuries (broken leg, cracked vertebra and torn hip flexor, respectively).  Our dear Jaye remains sidelined :(  The infusion of new talent brought on to the team with the addition of Marissa, Celeste, Ariana and GabbyM have given Coach Erin unlimited new player rotation options. While struggling during Surf Cup to find the back of the net - a few scoreless ties in quarterfinals and semifinals, their shooting accuracy was back on for the first weekend of FWRL play in Morgan Hill. Six different players scored in the opening weekend to see Lightning light up the boards with 11 goals in 3 games. Two more games remain in the preliminary round of FWRL play which will be held on September 26th in Las Vegas, NV.  The girls are hoping for more of the same success.  District 2 Abronizino league play starts in early September so this will allow more recovery time for the injured, integration of the new players and more confidence as a team.  Good Luck in the final two FWRL prelim games. Viva Las Vegas!!

Despite the injuries and the lack of down time following Far West Regional Championships in Lancaster and the various Regional ODP Camps, Coach Erin was pleased with the early season success at Surf Cup. The 2008 Surf Champs came back to defend their title and make it all the way through to the Championship match against ... the always formidable Surf White team (a rematch of the 2008 championship match). While the girls ended up on the "other side" of the 2-1 final score, they had a terrific time in Del Mar, enjoyed playing some awesome teams to reach the finals. They will be back in 2010!

Tuesday, April 7
Spring Update
Los Altos, CA ... With State Cup and a little down time behind them, the MVLA girls are back into full swing.  Tryouts brought two wonderful, impact players to the squad: Celeste and Mari.  One of our injured players had the cast removed from her leg and is on the road to recovery. The team kicked off Spring with a scrimmage against the talented OV Storm U14 team last weekend and has another scrimmage coming up. Preparation for the Regional Championships in June is on the mind of every player. Keep up the hard work and intensity, girls!

Monday, February 23
MVLA U14 Fall Placement Tryouts

MVLA will be hosting open tryouts for all players interested in joining the program for the U14 Season 2009-2010. Eligible players must be born after August 1, 1995. There is NO FEE to attend the tryout. There are two days of tryouts Saturday, February 28th from 9am - 12pm at Mountain View High School and Sunday, March 1st from 11am - 2pm at Los Altos High School. **note the two different locations** Tryouts will be held rain or shine, as they are on all-weather turf fields. Please have players arrive 15 minutes early to get their gear on, and warm-up to play at the designated start time. All players must wear shinguards and soccer cleats in order to participate. They should also bring water as there are no water fountains at either facility. The tryout is for the entire U14 program: MVLA Lightning (Class 1, Division 1), MVLA Thunder (Class 1, Division 1) and MVLA Hurricanes (Class 1, Division 2). For additional information you may contact please indicate which team your daughter is interested in trying out for.

Sunday, February 15
Lightning Reclaims State Cup Championship
Morgan Hill, CA ... In the freezing cold and rain, the Lightning girls were ready to face their friendly foes from the East Bay, Mustang Fury. After crushing PAC United 5-0 in the semifinals the girls had 100% focus on reclaiming the title they lost to Mustang Fury just one year ago (and on the same field). History was not to repeat this year. The girls faced the elements and played with all their hearts could muster to go toe-to-toe with the Fury. The game went back and forth from the first minute through to the 70th minute. Both teams had opportunities. Both teams were relentless.  In a very clean, competitive match this one ended with a single goal standing up for the win. The goal came on a perfectly executed, 4-touch counterattack from Lightning - starting with a drop kick from the keeper to an awaiting forward's head, which was then brilliantly flicked to an awaiting teammate who tapped it through to an overlapping mid and then a beautiful strike over the Fury keeper and into the back of the net ... was all she wrote. All of the Lightning players who entered the pitch had one thing in mind. Winning.  They played for themselves. They played for their teammates. They played with intensity. Parents and fans who endured the rain and cold, gave both teams a standing ovation for the skill and talent displayed on the field. Congratulations, girls. Up next, the USYSA Regional Championships in Lancaster, CA in June. Stay healthy and enjoy the short break. [Click on the image below to watch some of the game footage posted on You Tube]

State Cup09
USYSA U13 State Cup Champions

Monday, January 5
Lightning Takes Their First Tournament Win of 2009 - Mustang Winter Turf
Danville, CA ... No thundershowers, no snow, no postponed games. It was all good. For the third year in a row the Lightning girls went home with the cool "Championship" t-shirts in hand at the Mustang Winter Turf Invitational. In bracket play they faced Mustang Revolution, Tracy Dynamite and the always formidable San Juan Spirits. Success in bracket play earned them the honor of playing the Regional Champs, Mustang Fury, in the championship match on a freezing cold, Sunday night. Aside from the 35 degree temperature, the conditions were great. The fans were in for a real treat watching two excellent teams battle it out for 70 minutes. In the first half, Lightning struck on a beautiful corner by Mel that met with a BANG on the other end by Sed's powerful head and sailed into the net. That lone goal held up for the remainder of the match. Both sides had plenty of close calls for scoring opportunities but the stellar defenses on both sides were able to thwart all attacks. After a disappointing loss to the Fury in the State Cup championship match last February, the girls were relieved to earn the victory over their friendly rivals on the East Bay. The Lightning defense did not give up a single goal in the entire tournament.  Up next ... the NorCal Cup final on January 18th where Lightning will face either PAC United or Mustang Fury. Keep up the good work, girls.

Sunday, December 14
11 Lightning Players Named to State ODP Teams
Ripon, CA ... An amazing show by the Lightning girls these past two weekends at the ODP playdates in Morgan Hill and Ripon, respectively.  Wow! On the freezing December 13-14 playdates in Ripon, 11 of the Lightning girls made the "final cut" and are now officially part of the 95 and 96 State ODP pools for Cal-North. Congratulations to all 5 returning State '95 ODP Players:  Mimi, Sed, Hannah, Caitlyn and Jacq!  And now joining them are their studly '96 teammates.  Hats off to the 6 new State '96 ODP Players:  Sarah, Melissa, Jaye, Paige, Gabby and Caroline!  Now that ODP tryouts are finished, the girls can return their focus to the semi-final/final weekend of NorCal Cup next weekend in Manteca.  Good luck girls.

Monday, November 24
League Champs ... again
Los Altos, CA ... The Lightning girls bagged another Abronzino League Championship this past weekend by displaying their dominance over the North Valley Thunder team in a 6-0 rout. This is the level of play that the coaches were expecting at this point in the season. MVLA went undefeated in league play - winning every game, no ties, no losses.  Amidst finishing off their D2 opponents, the girls took care of business in bracket play in the NorCal Cup tournament - conceding not a single goal.  First, the always tough PAC United went down 3-0, then the Dublin Fury fell 2-0 and finally the BOCA Jrs. succumbed 3-0.  Next up are the semifinals in Manteca on December 20th against the Bay Oaks Bombers. That should be an excellent match-up.  And...after a week of loading up on turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie ... the Lightning girls will resume their skill training and mental preparation for the State ODP try-outs the first two weekends in December. Good luck girls. Stay healthy!

Sunday, August 10
Lightning Girls Continue Winning Ways at Mustang Stampede
Danville, CA ... On a beautiful Sunday morning in Northern California Lightning struck again, claiming their second Premier Elite-rated tournament championship within two weeks. Avoiding a terrible letdown coming off of the superb victory at Surf Cup just two weeks prior, the Lightning girls maintained their form to take home the beautiful, crystal Stampede trophy.  In the first bracket game of the weekend, the MVLA girls scissored and cut their way to a convincing 5-0 win over the Boca Jrs.  The second day of bracket play was a little different for the girls.  Starting off the second game of the tournament on the uneven, deep sloping, pot-hole-filled, wet, long grass field at Osage,  Lightning outshot the San Juan Spirits 19 to 2 but were unable to find the net ending the game in a 0-0 tie. Later in the afternoon the Legends FC from Southern California tied MVLA 1-1 with their quick counterattack yielding their lone goal of the game ... again, despite the Lightning girls outshooting them 23 to 3. The invisible forcefields around the goals seemed inpenetrable.  But Coach Albertin was not about to give up. In the quarterfinal round, against the Burlingame Blitz, Lightning was back on their favorite turf surface and were able to pull out the victory.  In the semifinal round Lightning was matched against the always tough West Coast Futbol Club (WCFC) of SoCal.  In the 2007 Stampede (which WCFC won) Lightning were their semifinal opponent in a tight game that ended in a 2OT tie that ended in a PK shootout and a broken leg for a Lightning player. The tie was not to be had this time around.  MVLA came out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first half and were able to pull out a final 3-2 victory. What a relief... finally not a draw result with WCFC!  The championship match was a rematch with San Juan Spirits and MVLA was able to dominate play, pull out the victory, although the score was a mere 1-0.  San Juan gave the MVLA girls a great game and they will see them soon enough in bracket play at the SoCal Blues Cup over Labor Day weekend.  Congratulations to the Lightning girls for their tenacity and tremendous 2 for 2 start in summer tournament play. We are all so very proud of you!!

Sunday, November 2
Mid Season Report
Los Altos, CA ... Midway through the Fall Season the Lightning girls remain undefeated and solely in first place in the Abronzino Division. After a very tough and fruitful summer tournament season, the girls have settled into league play and have enjoyed having Coach Erin back on the sideline. (Congratulations to Coach Albertin for being appointed in the exciting new role as Head Coach of the Bay Area womens professional soccer team) Lightning has had some close games, some blow-outs, some on turf, some on grass, and some in the mud. The results have been the same - Lightning on top. In addition to league play, the girls had a NorCal Cup qualifier against Cal Rush Nike where the victory secured their spot in the Premier Division. Next up is bracket play which will include matches against the BOCA Jrs., PAC United and the Dublin Fury. Finally, if this wasn't enough soccer already, several of the Lightning players have been practicing and trying out for positions on the 2009 '95 & '96 ODP teams. Congratulations to the 95ers who have received invitations to the State ODP Tryouts in December: Hannah ('08 Region ODP team), Jacq ('08 Region ODP team), Caitlyn ('08 State ODP team), Sed ('08 State ODP team), Mimi ('08 State ODP team) and Audrey (first time).  Congratulations to the 96ers who have received invitations to the State ODP Tryouts: Caroline, Jaye, Melissa, Paige, Sarah and Gabby. An amazing twelve (12) of the girls on the Lightning roster are advancing through...Good Work and Good Luck, girls!

Who says we don't "play dirty"?

Wednesday, July 23
ODP Update
Stockton, CA ... Lightning has its first US Olympic Development Program (ODP) Regional team players! Two Lightning '95 players were named to the Regional Pool after a grueling 9 day tryout process in the brutal Stockton heat. Congratulations to Hannah and Jacq for being named to the 36 player pool.    The other Lightning '95s and '96s are having continued success in the ODP program at both the district and state level. Sarah, Jaye, Caroline, Paige, Gabby and Melissa were all recently selected to the final, 20-player District II 96G ODP roster and will participate in the District playdates. Keep up the good work!!

Monday, May 26
Lightning '95ers Lead State ODP Team to Showcase Success
Colorado odp
Jacq, Sed, Hannah & Caitlyn (missing: Mimi)
Aurora, Colorado ... Over Memorial Day weekend, the Lightning '95 State ODP players (Mimi, Hannah, Sed, Caitlyn and Jacq) headed to beautiful Aurora, Colorado to compete in the prestigious Real Colorado Showcase.  The Cal-North team faced fierce competition from the Colorado Black ODP, Dallas Sting U14, Colorado Blue ODP and Real Colorado U14. The weather was perfect for soccer and the fields at Dick's Sporting Goods Sports Complex were truly outstanding. Aside from competing in four showcase matches, the Cal-North State team enjoyed an evening watching the MLS Colorado Rapids vs. Chivas game, and also shared a lot of laughs and good times on their first road trip together.  More good times ahead as these 5 Lightning representatives have all been invited to participate in the ODP Regional Camp held July 16-22 at the historic University of the Pacific (UOP) campus in exotic Stockton, California.  Best of luck, girls!

Monday, May 19
Lightning Dominates D2 Spring League

Los Altos, CA ... Playing up in age, in the top U13 age group, the Lightning girls showed excellent form and composure to take the Spring League championship with an impressive 9-0-0 record (48 goals for, 1 against).  Bouncing back after their loss in the State Cup title match, the girls walked on to the pitch for each match with hunger in their eyes. With a consistent and impressive display of skill, speed, patience, and fitness ... the team crossed, scissored, cruyffed and finished their way to the top of the standings. Up next is some much needed time off for rest, relaxation, exams (yes, some school work) and normal 12 year-old fun (birthday parties, sleepovers, movies, and texting) --- of course, followed by the usual summer soccer tournaments.  The Lightning girls will play in three premier elite tournaments over the summer: San Diego Surf Cup, Nike Mustang Stampede, and the SoCal Blues Cup. Good luck girls!

Tuesday, May 13
'96 District ODP Success
The Lightning girls continue to excel within the Olympic Development Program (ODP).  Congratulations to our fabulous '96ers who have made the District II pool:  Melissa, Caroline, Jaye, Sarah, Paige, Julia and Gabby.  The awesome '95ers who have made the District II pool include: Jess, Natasha, Audrey and Katya!  Good job to all the girls and we wish them all continued success as they progress through the program.

Monday, January 7
State Cup or Bust!
WinterTurf 08
Mustang Winter Turf Invitational

Danville, CA ... The Lightning girls have been sharpening their skills and are focused on their quest for another State Cup Championship.  With recent scrimmages against the U13G OV Storm, U12G MVLA Thunder and U12B MVLA Xtreme, the girls who have recently returned from injury had the opportunity to get back into the groove with their teammates. Over the January 5/6 weekend at the Nike Mustang Winter Turf Invitational, the Lightning girls went undefeated in matches against the Mustang Fury '96, Tracy Dynamite and Bay Oaks Bombers.  MVLA won this prestigious Premier Elite tournament last year defeating the formidable Mustang Fury 1-0 in the final.  The rematch was not to be had this year due to the inclement weather. Instead the tournament organizers decided to use a point system to declare a "champion" and since MVLA was the only team to win all of their group play matches - the girls went home with the stylish, long sleeve "Champion" shirts.  Of the matches on Saturday one Lightning midfielder commented, "I love playing in the rain.  It's so cool. But, I was a little freaked when the lightning and thunder started". 

Lightning has one more scrimmage lined up before the opening round of State Cup on January 19/20 in Morgan Hill.  The girls will face the Santa Rosa United Flash, East Madera Sharpshooters and the Clovis Odyssey Red in the opening round.  Please come out and support the MVLA girls on their quest for a repeat!

Tuesday, October 30
Lightning's 95ers ODP Update
District 2 'ODP Team - 95G
Ripon, CA ... Lightning's amazing 95ers (Caitlyn, Hannah, Jacq, Jess, Katya and Mimi) represented the District 2 team very well in the tough playdates held in September and October in Ripon, CA.  The District 2 team handily defeated each team that they faced.  With over 140 carefully selected District players - from each of the NorCal districts - to choose from, the evaluators invited all of the Lightning 95ers to advance to the State ODP tryouts in December.  The girls will join several of their District ODP teammates, including those from the CV Chilipeppers and MVLA Thunder, as well as their friends from the Mustang Fury and Mustang Blast.  Of the 70 invitations that were sent out, the State ODP team evaluators will have their work cut out for them in cutting the final roster down to 45.  We wish continued success (and good health) to the Lightning '95ers!

Tuesday, October 30
Fall Mid-season Report
Lightning Fall'07 Squad
Los Altos, CA ... With the various Fall holidays out of the way and the rain-outs hopefully behind them, the Lightning girls have managed to play 6 league games (3-0-3).  Despite being undefeated in league play they, uncharacteristically, have chalked up three draws.  District 2 has tremendous competition this season and the girls have faced the always fierce, PAC United, and the fast and skilled Los Gatos Wild.  The MVLA Thunder and Santa Clara Sporting teams also are never to be discounted and give the girls quite a challenge.  With 4 more league games to go, many of the Lightning players are coming off the injured reserves; leaving only 2 who have not yet been cleared to play or train with full contact.  The final 4 league games should be fun to watch.  Lightning is still in contention to win the District 2 Fall championship and they have their eyes on accomplishing just that.  To cap off league play, the girls will play in the District 2 Cup tournament the weekend of November 17th & 18th at the beautiful Santa Clara Soccer Park.  Come out and support the reigning State Cup Champs!

Wednesday, September 5
NorCal Brings Home the Coveted Blues Cup!!

Irvine, CA .... The beautiful SoCal Blues Cup Championship Trophy has made its way to Northern California!!  (Albeit to Danville and not Los Altos)  Congratulations to our friends on the East Bay, Mustang Fury, for bringing the big one home!  They were shorthanded a keeper this weekend and another standout player broke her wrist during the tournament yet they still beat the tough SoCal competition in the 100+ degree heat. 

Lightning played awesome despite fielding a short roster.  In the weeks leading up to Blues Cup Lightning lost a player to a broken ankle (injured at Mustang Stampede), another to a stress bone adema (injured at SBTB) and another to foot injury.  So with only two subs in the humid and hot Laguna Hills area, Lightning still proved worthy of hanging with the best in the country.  The first bracket game was against the OJSC Premier team.  The Lightning girls put one in the net within the first two minutes of the game and knocked another one in minutes after the second half commenced.  Despite having numerous shots on goal and the Lightning keeper touching the ball only once in the match, the final score was 2-0.  Next up was the big game against the SoCal Blues.  The defeat in the semis at Surf Cup was still fresh in the girls' minds and they were ready to take it to the Blues.  Lightning scored off a picture perfect header from a beautifully laid up cross in the first half.  They missed several more viable shots on goal including a PK.  The match went back and forth and ended 1-0 for Lightning. (Lightning now has a 2-1-0 record versus the Blues at 11v11).  The next afternoon in scorching 112 degree heat, Lightning played the SoCal State Cup Champions, Del Mar Sharks.  With Del Mar up 1-0, Lightning pounded the Del Mar goal with shot after shot in the final 15 minutes of the game. The Del Mar keeper was on her game and stopped everything including a ball that bounced inside the crossbar, up and down and side to side a few times.  Although MVLA wasn't able to get that ball in the net watching that play was really cool.  Del Mar went on to win 1-0 but because Lightning had won their prior to games and had only let up one goal in bracket play, they advanced as the top seed in the "Bracket of Death".  With a few hours of rest under their belts they went to play in the quarterfinals against the San Diego Surf, a team they had already played twice within the span of 5 weeks.  Both teams looked sluggish in the first half of the game and it was 0-0 at halftime.  Coach Erin gave the girls an inspiring halftime talk and encouraged them to give it whatever they had left in the second half.  Well, the second half didn't go quite as planned.  Coach Erin was ejected from the game due to the Ref not liking the look on her face and the girls gave up an own goal and a second goal to seal their fate.  At the end of the match the girls stumbled off the field, dead tired and bruised. (And their friends from Mustang Fury were there on the sidelines to cheer them on and give them all high 5's) The Lightning players agreed that they were just fine with their exit from the tournament in the quarters because they would not have had enough bodies to play the next day.   The fans were pleased with the girls performance over the weekend and look forward to the cooler weather at home and the start of league play.  Congrats Lightning!

Wednesday, August 22
Lightning Wins Soccer By The Bay Tournament
Belmont, CA ... In their final warm-up prior to heading south to play in the prestigious SoCal Blues tournament, Lightning brought home the Soccer By The Bay Championship.  This local, tune-up tourney was a good one for the team to adjust to playing without several of their recently injured teammates.  In bracket play Lightning toppled the Los Gatos Wild (4-0), Burlingame Blitz (2-0) and SAYSO Gryphons (10-0).  The impressive results in bracket play landed the Lightning girls in a Championship battle with D2 league opponents, Santa Clara Sporting.    Within 5 minutes of kickoff Lightning found the back of the Santa Clara net to go up 1-0.  With 6 solid shots on frame in the first half and multiple 4 to 5 pass combination series, the Lightning fans were thrilled with the girls' performance.  In the second half, marked with Lightning rarely leaving the Santa Clara defensive third, the girls creatively strung together multiple combination sequences and promising attacks on their opponent's goal.  The Lightning girls, well aware of Santa Clara's proficiency in running the offside trap, were able to capitalize on their opponent's flat back defense and racked up another 2 goals in the second half.    A Lightning fan commented, "I am so glad to see our girls attacking the goal this weekend with so many creative and aggressive plays.  Boy, this time last year it seemed like their opponents had invisible forcefields over their goals and our girls struggled a bit scoring.  I hope this goal scoring intensity carries over to Blues Cup!"  Congratulations girls on a good showing this weekend and good luck as you meet up with the host team in bracket play at their Labor Day weekend tournament.  (SoCal Blues have a 1-1-0 record against Lightning at 11v11 and most recently knocked Lightning out in the semifinals of the Nike Surf Cup this summer. The girls are fired up for the rematch!). 

Tuesday, August 14
Stampede Recap
The Lightning girls won their tough bracket at the Nike Mustang Stampede by shutting out all opponents.  After a slow start against the Washington Premier team (1-0 win) the girls stepped it up under the lights in their second bracket game against the Bay Oaks Bombers from Oakland.  Lightning came out on top of that match 2-0.  Entering the final bracket game that would determine if MVLA would advance the girls faced stiff competition from the perennial SoCal powerhouse, San Diego Surf White.  Lightning came out strong with a goal in the first five minutes of a text book cross and finish.  At the end of regulation Lightning topped Surf 2-0 to advance into the semi-finals.  Once again MVLA would face the tough WCFC club from SoCal.  The teams had previously tied each time in their prior three meetings.  Would this be the time that the curse of the draw was broken??  No, the soccer gods were not having any of that.  With Lightning up 1-0 with 8 minutes to go in the game, WCFC poured it on to tie the game up 1-1 in regulation.  Two 5 minute golden goal periods yielded no additional goals and so the game went to PKs.  Lightning came out on the short end of the shootout this time and WCFC advanced to play in the finals (and ultimately win the championship).  Congratulations to MVLA and WCFC for treating the many fans at MTV field to a terrific game of youth soccer.  It was a real treat.  Next up is a local low-key tournament, Soccer by the Bay.  Go Lightning!!

Tuesday, July 31
Lightning Fans Amazed at San Diego Surf Cup
surf image
Del Mar, CA ... The Lightning girls put on a show for their many fans and supporters who traveled to beautiful Del Mar, California to watch the girls compete in the prestigious Nike San Diego Surf Cup.  With two weeks of team training under their belt (preceded by summer vacations, camps and summer school) the fans knew the girls would be tested in the highly competitive field of State Champions and other highly ranked teams from throughout the USA and Canada.  Playing many teams who had started their team training in early June and already had 2-3 tournaments under their belts, the MVLA girls had their work cut out for them.  The girls took an early 3-0 win in their bracket play against the skilled Tophat team from Buckhead, GA.  In their first international match which was held later that day, the girls put on a great show of speed, passing and skill but were unable to find the net against a tall and tough Vancouver Whitecaps team which found the net in the waning moments of regulation to hand Lightning a 0-1 loss.  The girls remained confident and focused and rested up that evening in order to face the strong host team, San Diego Surf (the 2006 Surf Cup Champions).  With the loss to Vancouver the girls had to win the game in order to secure a spot in the quarterfinals.  They did just that.  Within the first 8 minutes of the game the girls found the back of the net on a beautiful finish.   Another Lightning goal was called back by the CR when a Surf pass back to the Surf keeper resulted in a deflected ball that a Lightning forward tapped in for the second goal of the game.  After the play was over the CR called the play back and awarded a direct free kick instead of awarding the 'advantage' play to MVLA.  Due to a Surf penalty on the awarded DFK, Lightning had a PK opportunity which was, unfortunately, sent off frame. With some of Lightning's best bracket play, the girls took home the win and moved into the quarterfinals.  The CRSC Infinity team, winner of their bracket, came ready to take on Lightning in the quarterfinal game which was 2 hours following their game against Surf.  This would put the Lightning girls to a true test of their tournament readiness (fitness). In a game where MVLA had 9 solid shots on goal to CRSC's 1, the regulation score ended knotted at 0 and went straight into a PK shootout.  Lightning made 4 PKs, missed 1 and saved 1 PK to advance to the semifinals.  The Monday morning semifinal match was against the always tough SoCal Blues.  Lightning lost to the SoCal Blues 1-0 in the semifinals of the 2005 Nike Mustang Stampede and then beat the SoCal Blues in the 2006 Nike Girls Surf Cup tournament last year. Everyone knew this would be a great match-up.  The girls started out the semifinal like they were shot out of a cannon!  Two great shots on the Blues goal within the first five minutes.  However in the 9th minute, the Blues were able to knock in a loose ball from a corner kick to give them a 1-0 lead that carried through halftime.  In a game that went back and forth and Lightning certainly having their fair share of opportunities to get on the board, they just couldn't.  On a quick counter in the second half Blues drove down the lane and got a spectacular cross and finish off that just beat Lightning's keeper.  It was a great goal by the Blues.  The game ended 2-0 in favor of the Blues and the Lightning girls were sent home packing but everyone was excited and proud of how well they performed this early in the season.  The season looks very promising for the Lightning girls and next up is Mustang Stampede in Danville followed by a local warm-up tournament, Soccer by the Bay.  Good luck girls!!

Sunday, July 15
Lightning Escorts Chelsea Players on to the Field at the Inaugural Disney Friendship Cup
Palo Alto, CA - In the pre-game ceremony to a crowd of more than 47,000 cheering fans at the new Stanford Stadium, the Lightning girls escorted the Chelsea soccer team on to the field.  Chelsea FC which has some of the best players in the world including: Didier Drogba, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Andrei "Sheva" Shevchenko, Joe Cole, goalkeeper Petr Cech, Claude Makelele, Arjen Robben, Michael Essien, and newcomer Florent Malouda came to Northern California to face off against the young, speedy and very talented Club America team.  Amidst the fireworks, raucously cheering fans, horns, and throngs of photographers the Lightning girls did what they do best - keep their cool.   Wearing the Chelsea players' actual warm-up uniforms, the Lightning girls maintained a tight grip on each of their respective Chelsea player's hand and calmly and confidently processed them out on to the field.  The Chelsea players were very appreciative of the guidance and support they received from the Lightning girls.  Chelsea prevailed over Club America with a final score of 2-1.  Good job girls. 


Thursday, May 17
Spring Update
Lightning Girls with Brandi at SCU
Ahhh... Spring is in the air!  The Lightning girls are enjoying playing soccer on grass fields in this beautiful weather.  Midway through the D2 Spring season the girls are enjoying some terrific play amongst the best U12 girls teams in the district.  The competition has been tough and the girls are being challenged each week - exactly what Coach Erin was looking for out of the Spring season.  While fending off the last few knee and heel injuries (and one broken wrist), the girls look like they will be in fine form by the time summer tournament season heats up.

This was the first year for the 1995-born Lightning girls to try out for the Olympic Development Program (ODP).  District 2 tryouts were held in windy Morgan Hill on May 5, 6, and 12 with double-sessions each day.  The competition in District 2 is recognized as the best in the state.  Six of the seven eligible Lightning players tried out for the District 2 ODP team - all six players were selected to the District 2 ODP pool.  Congratulations to Audrey, Caitlyn, Jacq, Jessica, Katya and Mimi for representing the team well and good luck as you advance through the ODP process.

While the 95ers were trying out for ODP, several of the 96ers participated in the Stanford University 4v4 tournament, playing up in the U12 girls division.  Though short on subs, the Lightning girls perservered and were undefeated in their 6 matches.

Finally, the girls had the amazing opportunity to work with U.S. Women's Soccer legend, Brandi Chastain, and Inside Soccer at Santa Clara University's Buck Shaw Stadium to create a soccer training video/documentary on U.S. soccer training techniques.  With camera crews filming from all angles, the girls enjoyed working with Brandi and learning some cool, new techniques from her.  We'll update the site when we find out when the video will be aired or available for purchase.

(Coach Erin led her U14G MVLA Avalanche team to the State Cup Championship at the end of April.  An unprecedented 2 State Cup titles and a CCS Championship in the same season - does she rock or what?)

Friday, March 30
State Cup Wrap-Up & Spring Update
Zimbabwe Champs
Run for Zimbabwe Team Champs
Following their victory at the CYSA State Cup Championship the Lightning girls had their hands full with the usual fanfare - interviews with David Letterman, dealing with all the corporate sponsorship opportunities, invitations to appear in parades, visit to the White House, receiving the Key to the City of Los Altos, guest appearances on Nickelodeon's "Zoey 101", and of course the big trip to Disneyland. WHEW! Seriously ... the team resumed their normal lives at school and have finished out their seasons in NJB basketball (including All-Star play), performed in major piano recitals, starred in Palo Alto Youth Theatre's rendition of "A Little Princess", trained with AAU basketball teams, represented their schools in volleyball, kicked off their season in PONY baseball, and nurtured a stress fracture among many other things. This is one busy crew! On March 25th several of the girls ran in the "Run for Zimbabwe" fundraiser. The Lightning girls took 6 of the top 10 spots including 1st and 2nd place - they also won the Overall Team trophy. Lightning's finish times for the 1-mile race ranged from 6:05 to 7:14. The girls had a great time running and raising money for a good cause. Next up is the District 2 Spring season where the girls will be "playing up" in the top U12 girls flight. Schedules will be posted soon. In other news, Lightning received early acceptance to the prestigious Nike Surf Cup tournament to be held this July 28-30 in Del Mar, CA. 

Sunday, February 25
Lightning Girls Crowned U11G State Cup Champions!
CCS and State Cup
Coach Erin with some Lightning and Los Altos HS players
February 24, 2007... The signs that the State Championship finals were upon us were all there - the Robertson Park stadium packed with fans, the music, the smell of nachos and hot dogs in the air, the clear blue sky, the perfectly groomed fields, the posters and signs on the fences and walls around the stadium, the admission fee, the many field marshalls and referees, and of course, the table that prominently displayed the State Cup Championship trophy and medals.  The big game everyone was waiting to see, the #1 ranked team versus the #2 ranked team.  The favorite Mustang Fury and the underdog MVLA Lightning.  The 5th time the two teams met up in a tournament final. Everyone who follows the two teams knew that this was going to be a "Battle Royale" as the two teams had a 2-2 record (at 11v11) against eachother going into the match.  An hour before kickoff the Lightning girls took the field to warm up, stretch and take shots on goal.  One of the MVLA Assistant Coaches said, "This is the day the girls have worked for.  They made it this far and we are so proud of them.  I just hope they can shake off the nerves and avoid coming out flat." Following the warm-up the stadium announcer had the teams take the field in a ceremonial march, announced each player, the coaching staff and then the girls sprinted back to their respective benches to get ready for the start of the game. The crowd was going wild.  Much to the pleasure of the MVLA coaching staff (and fans) the girls started off like they were shot out of a cannon.  Explosive.  Winning 50-50 balls. Building an attack.   In the 24th minute MVLA was awarded a PK for a handball in the box.  It was beautifully converted by MVLA; an unsavable shot past the experienced Fury keeper.  The score was almost tied up when a FK was awarded to Fury right outside the MVLA box.  However, the ball sailed wide left. The score would remain 1-0 at the halftime.  Lightning's coach gave an intense and inspiring halftime talk to the girls and later would say, "We knew we couldn't sit back on a one goal lead over Fury - they are too good. We had to keep up the attack, play our style of soccer and play smart.  We couldn't go into the second half thinking 'Let's just play defense and try to hold them'."  From the whistle of the second half it was the Fury who were seemingly on fire.  MVLA's defense (who had shutout every single opponent in this State Cup Championship run) proved once again formidable against the Fury attack. While the possession in the first half was in favor of MVLA, the second half was Fury's. In a game that tallied 2 corner kicks for Fury and 0 for MVLA, 4 shots on goal for MVLA and 3 shots on goal for Fury, the tale of the tape was as close as you could get.  Every player on the field gave it their all and when the referee blew the final whistle, the score remained 1-0 for MVLA.  The Lightning girls jumped on top of each other, embracing and their eyes welled up with tears of joy.  After the game a Lightning midfielder stated, "I can't believe we did it.  We've been working towards this day since we were U8.  I'm so excited.  It was the longest game ever and Fury was really killing us up the center which made us have to step up our game."  Lightning's Team Manager lamented, "I got caught up in the excitement of the tournament and promised the girls I would shave my hair into a mohawk if they won the game. I just hope they don't call me on it. How am I going to explain this at the office?" At the post-game award ceremony players from Fury and MVLA shook hands and congratulated eachother.  After the medals were placed around each player's neck, the Master of Ceremonies called the Lightning captains out to hoist up the glimmering State Cup Championship trophy. The captains agreed, "We worked hard for this and this was a tough road to get here.  We are equally excited to give this trophy to Coach Erin because this is her first State Cup Championship and we wouldn't be here without her."   Through State Cup play Lightning notched 25 goals and did not give up a single goal, posting shut-outs in every match.  CONGRATULATIONS LIGHTNING!!! Enjoy the next four weeks off and we will see you in the Spring. (Of note: Later in the day, Coach Erin Montoya went on to lead her Los Altos Eagles high school team to the CCS Championship. Congratulations Coach Erin!) 

Sunday, February 18
The Quest for the Cup Continues! Lightning Advances to the State Cup Championship Match.
state cup
Saturday, February 17th ... The fans were out in full force.  The weather was absolutely perfect.  The soccer gods were looking over the lovely, groomed Turlock fields as the Lightning girls shut out the mighty PAC United team in the quarterfinals of State Cup, 1-0.  The first half was an amazing battle with great shots on goal by both teams and a few missed opportunities by both teams.  Lightning had a scare when PAC was awarded a FK directly outside the box.  However, the Lightning luck was with them and the ball sailed wide of the goal. [SIGH]  The first half ended at 0-0.  After a energizing half time speech by Lightning Assistant Coach Albertin Montoya, the Lightning girls came out ready to strike!  And boy they did!  With no less than 7 corner kicks in the second half and 9 shots on goal, Lightning came alive but nothing would find the net until the waning moments of the game. With a demonstration of beautiful posession soccer - Lightning connected a series of 5 crisp, well-played passes to find an open player directly in front of the goal who made a tremendous finish and sealed the game for Lightning.  The Lightning player who knocked it in put it this way, "I was seeing the goal all day.  It was pretty tough getting through their defense but my teammates worked the ball upfield and once I saw that perfect cross coming I knew I was going to reward their hard work with a solid finish."  Lightning's keeper added, "I got a little dirty today and frankly I'm not too happy about that.  I wasn't going to let the girls down after they made that goal.  Nothing was goin' in today...over my dead body!"

Sunday, February 18th ... The girls marched on
to the damp, cold field at 7:30 a.m. in the morning to warm up for their battle with the fierce San Juan Spirit Blue team in the semifinal round of State Cup - The Final Four - just one game away from reaching the Championship match.  This was big time.  In the pre-game interview, MVLA's manager sounded confident in his team but not over-confident stating, "The girls are playing well.  They need to execute today and come out strong." Both teams were fired up and the fans for both teams were in for a treat.  With a game that was played predominantly in the San Juan defensive third, the Lightning girls peppered the amazing San Juan keeper from every angle, but her steady hands proved challenging for the Lightning offense.  Despite not a single shot made on the Lightning goal - the score was knotted at 0-0 at halftime.  With Coach Erin back at the helm, the girls received a halftime talk that they had heard many times before "connect your passes, play our game and make smart decisions".  The girls were not going to throw in the towel.  With the initial TWEET of the whistle to kick off the second half Lightning blasted up the field (uphill and into the wind), and again took shot after shot on the San Juan goal.  The three awarded direct kicks in the second half were beautifully defended by San Juan.   Finally the girls settled in and as happened the day before in the quarterfinals, the girls lit up, found open space, made a series of crisp passes and smashed one into the back of the net.  The balance of the game saw a somewhat frustrated San Juan team sending balls long in at attempt at getting some offense going while the clock was ticking away.  They gave it their best effort, but once again the Lightning defense maintained their composure and showed why they haven't given up a single goal in State Cup play.  It was a great game for the Lightning girls and they have achieved their stated goal of making it to the State Cup Championship which will be held February 24th in Livermore.  In the ESPN post-game press wrap-up one of the Lightning defenders said, "We expected to see Mustang in the finals, we always do.  They are a great team but we think we've got what it takes to win it all." 

This weekend the entire Lightning team earned MVP honors.  They showed a true team effort.  Congratulations and good luck in the finals!

Monday, February 5
Lightning Advances to Quarterfinals of State Cup
Turlock here we come ...again!  While the Lightning girls did not play their best game of the season, they managed to edge out the very fast Livermore Crew with a 3-0 win in the Round of 16.  Lightning struck within the first two minutes of the game with an impressive combination built out of the back that ended up landing at the foot of a right outside mid who beautifully drove the ball into space up the line and launched one heck of a cross to an oncoming left mid who one-touched it into the net. Bang!  While the ball was predominantly played in the attacking third, a few dangerous plays made it into Lightning territory where the threat was quickly snuffed by Lightning's ferocious back line and patient keeper.  When the Livermore offside trap begun to frustrate the girls, they opted to change tactics and plow through the mid, taking multiple players on 1v1 and 2v1 to take shots on goal.  Quite a few Lightning shots were thwarted by the skillful Livermore keeper and a few others sailed wide or bounced off the crossbar.  Overall the girls were glad to get the win but all felt they didn't play their best game.  In the post-game interview, one Lightning player said, "We've got to connect better and finish stronger than this if  we are going to win State Cup."  Of the upcoming game in the quarterfinals against P.A.C. United one Lightning defender stated, "Our 5-0 win against PAC earlier this season means nothing.  PAC's going to come at us strong and we've got to bring our A-game to Turlock."   The girls have two weeks to rest up, get rid of their winter colds being and then they will be back in action in Turlock on February 17th. The march to Livermore continues...

In other news ... the Lightning girls finished off their winter indoor season undefeated in the U12 division. The girls amassed 75 goals and gave up only 7. (Note: They had one forfeit due to a conflict with State Cup Prelims which posted as a 3-0 loss). Congratulations girls!

Sunday, January 21
Turlock Weather Report: Cold, Clear Skies and Lots of Lightning

Yup, there was a whole lot of Lightning in the preliminary round at State Cup!  The community of Turlock wasn't quite sure what hit them this weekend when Lightning came into town.  With 9 different Lightning players (including the Keeper!)  finding the net over the weekend, heads were spinning and the girls showed that they are in fighting form to vie for the State Cup Championship.  Posting a shutout in each of their games - the defense once again displayed how strong they are and proved that they are formidable.  Lightning's 19 goals in three games showed they are potent on the attack.  Their season and their march to Livermore continues as they face the tough Livermore Crew '95 in the Sweet 16 Round on February 3rd in Morgan Hill.  Way to go, girls!

Saturday, December 2
MVLA Stuns SoCal Blues at Girls Surf Cup
With the hangover of a big turkey dinner behind them, the Lightning girls walked in to the 2006 Girls Surf Cup tournament ready to represent NorCal over Thanksgiving weekend in picturesque Del Mar, California. First up was West Coast Futbol Club (a team that Lightning had tied 2-2 at the 2005 Girls Surf Cup and again 1-1 at the 2006 Blues Cup) and the girls came out hot right from the start.  With both teams really giving it their all this one ended up tied at 1-1 ...another tie... but not a bad showing against the Coast Soccer League (CSL) League Cup Champions. Later in the day, the girls had the delight of playing the SoCal Blues who are currently ranked #1 in the U.S. for the age group (by National Soccer Ranking).  The last time the Lightning girls saw the Blues was at the Mustang Stampede in the 8v8 format at U10.  The Blues scored quickly in the first half but as the nerves wore off and Lightning got their mojo back, the Blues were stunned to see the game unravel before them.  As soon as the whistle blew for the second half, Lightning quickly penetrated the Blues defense and scored.  Within 5 minutes after that drive Lightning came back with a great series of connected passes and a few jukes inbetween and scored their second goal.  Lightning ended on the right side of the 2-1 final score.  The final bracket game was between Arizona's Sereno girls.  Advancing on a tie or a single goal, the girls had the numbers on their side.  But Saturday morning was just not their day.  With an atypical foul called against the Lightning defense Sereno capitalized on a DFK right outside the box.  Despite dominating the game the girls could not get the ball in the net ... wide right, over, on the crossbar, wide left,  on the post ... the girls hit everything but the net. Unfortunately the 1-0 loss to Sereno put the girls in a head to head tie with WCFC which resulted in a PK shootout prior to the semifinal match. The girls lost 4-3 in the PK shootout but had a great learning experience, enjoyed making friends with many of the girls from the SoCal teams, had fun with their families and played three great games.  The Lightning fans showed unwavering support of the girls and are looking forward to watching more of the same (well, not the not being able to score part) during their run for the CYSA North State Cup Title.

Monday, January 8
Lightning Girls Bring Home the Nike Mustang Winter Turf Invitational Championship
Mustang Turf Invitational Champions
The Lightning girls brought in the New Year on the right foot at the Nike Mustang Winter Turf Invitational.  Temperatures on the first night hovered in the low 30s and the players and fans were chilled to the bone for their 6:30 p.m. match against Lamorinda on the cold and fast Sycamore turf field. Saturday brought more cold weather, but thankfully no rain in the matches against the Mustang Fury '96 and Santa Rosa Gold United teams. Winning the bracket set Lightning up for a Sunday 8:00 a.m. match against the Bay Oaks Bombers. Whoa! Temperatures again were in the low 30s and the field had a layer of frost covering it. (Thankfully no wind or the fans would have been watching from the comfort of their cars in the parking lot!) The Lightning players did not let the cold phase them. With the aid of some Under Armor, beanies, gloves and blankets they kept their muscles and minds warmed up. The decisive 3-0 win over the Bay Oaks Bombers put Lightning in a head-to-head battle with their friends on the Mustang Fury Gold team. Once again the Championship match would bring these two great teams together for an excellent game of soccer. The magnificent tournament coordinators brought out the sunny, 70 degree weather just for the game. Both teams had their chances to score and both teams showed excellent ball skill and movement which resulted in scoreless regulation period. In the first minute of the first Golden Goal overtime period, the Fury had a very scary PK opportunity that went over the crossbar and the Lightning girls capitalized on a very quick counter-attack, made their way down the field with a series of three crisp connections, were awarded a FK about 25ft out to the left side of the box, and converted the kick into the winning goal. Every player on Lightning brought their game - the ferocious forwards, the marvelous midfielders, the dynamic defenders and the gutsy goalie. The girls recorded 4 shutouts and gave up only one goal in the entire tournament. They couldn't have asked for a better warm-up for State Cup play which starts January 20th in Turlock. Congratulations Lightning!

Sunday, November 19
Lightning Strikes at District 2 Cup Tournament
D2 Cup champs
District 2 Cup - CHAMPIONS

The Lightning girls once again left it all out on the field.  On November 18- 19, in Morgan Hill, CA  the District 2 Cup Tournament was held.  This was the first year that the Lightning girls were eligible to play, as the tournament for U10 and younger is set-up as a jamboree.  The girls were excited and ready to play on Saturday morning as they took it to the DeAnza Force 5-0.  They followed the win with an impressive game against league rivals SAYSO Gryphons, where Lightning came out on top 4-0.  Sunday brought a chilly morning and a bit of wind and the girls played tough against their sister team, MVLA Thunder, and prevailed again 3-1.  Lightning won their side of the bracket with the most points of any team in the U11 field with 29 out of a possible 30 points.  That lined them up for the Championship match against a hungry Santa Clara Sporting team.  Lightning took the lead early in the game and peppered the Santa Clara goal with shots throughout the game, including a PK for a denial of obvious goal call in the box.  Santa Clara didn't give up and had their only shot on goal in the waning moments of the game but couldn't overcome the Lightning defense.  Lightning scored 13 goals and only gave up 1 to win the Cup.  Good job girls.  Next week they head to So Cal to face "The Best of the Best" at the Nike Girls Surf Cup in Del Mar, CA. 

Monday, October 2
MVLA Lightning Fall Mid-Season Report
SCU game
The MVLA Lightning girls are in a familiar position at the midway point of the Fall league schedule - namely, atop the standings, with an impressive 24 goals for and 2 against. While the girls had a rough start in league play they have been improving each week and settling in to play their game. One of the high points of the first half of the season was their 5-0 victory over league rivals, PAC United. The two teams had tied in their previous two meetings on the 8v8 field and this was their first match at 11v11. The Lightning girls controlled the game from the first blow of the whistle through the finish. The MVLA players and fans look forward to the second half of the season; the prospects of which look very bright.

In other news the Lightning girls racked up an "ASSIST" as they helped the SCU Womens Soccer team in their 2-0 shutout over Stanford on September 30th at Buck Shaw Stadium. The girls lept, dove, and sprinted after balls shot out of bounds to quickly get the ball back in play. The crowd of over 3,000 at Buck Shaw were cheering loudly in support of the Lightning girls, even showing their support with a "wave". It was an awesome experience for the girls and their families.

Tuesday, September 5
Lightning Girls Delight Fans at SoCal Blues Cup
Blues Girls
Once again the Lightning girls gave their fans what they came to see - excellent, intense and extremely competitive soccer.  The Lightning fans who travelled from NorCal down to beautiful Laguna Beach were amazed with level of play and determination of the team.  It never phased the team that they were in the "bracket of death" (4 of the top 10 teams in the Nation all in one bracket, including the #1 ranked San Diego Surf).  Lightning's phenomenal defense gave up only 1 goal in the entire tournament.  The girls were unusually quiet on offense (or was there an invisible force field around their opponent's goal??) throughout the weekend.  However, their two 0-0 shutouts did not yield enough points to advance out of bracket and the girls had an atypical early exit from the competition.  All in all the girls had a marvelous time at the tournament and hope to be back next year to bring home the Cup! 

Sunday, August 13
Mustang Stampede Update
Stampede Finalists

Lightning showed well at the Mustang Stampede, ending their championship run with yet another match against their rivals and tournament hosts, Mustang Fury.  Lightning executed well, played tough, showed great spirit and tremendous creativity on the field in their bracket play and through the semifinals going 4-0.  In the finals, the mighty Fury was on fire and ready to take home the Cup in the Championship match.  It wasn't Lightning on top this time, but the girls had a fabulous time, enjoyed another great game against their cross-bay rivals and look forward to coming back next year to bring home the Stampede championship.   After three full weeks of training into the Fall season, the girls have a total of 12 matches under their belt, with a record of 11-1-0  and amassing 57 goals-for and a mere 8 goals-against.  What a nice start girls, keep it up!

Monday, August 7
Lightning Kicks off Fall Season by Capturing Title at Juventus Tournament of Champions
With a full week of practice under their belts, the Lightning girls kicked off the season (and a little bit of rust) by capturing the Juventus Tournament of Champions U11G title. Participating in this talent filled silver-level Tournament presented a great opportunity for the girls to face the always tough Los Gatos Wild, DeAnza Force and SAYSO Gryphons. The Lightning parents and fans were happy to see the girls back in action after a long summer break. Only a few days until they participate in the Premier-level tournament, Mustang Stampede Classic. The girls were semi-finalists last year and were knocked out by the eventual champions, SoCal Blues, in a terrific (though sad) 0-1 loss.

Saturday, July 22
Lightning Accepted to Premier and Premier Elite Summer Tournaments
With the fall season getting off to a roaring start next week at MVLA camp, the girls have their work cut out for them with a challenging pre-season tournament schedule. The team selected two premier- level tournaments to apply for and received acceptance to both. (Tournaments are ranked by GotSoccer -

They have received acceptance to the prestigious Nike Mustang Stampede Classic, a "Premier" rated tournament, (Aug 18-20) in Danville, CA.  This will be Lightning's third appearance.  The girls have also earned the right to play the best of SoCal at the SoCal Blues Cup, a "Premier Elite" rated tournament (Sept 2-5) in Rancho Capistrano, CA.  If you want to be the best, you've got to play the best! Good luck girls we look forward to watching you.

Monday, November 21
NorCal Cup

The Lightning girls again have an impressive showing at NorCal Cup, blowing through the competition on Saturday.  Lightning racked up 28 goals and allowed only 1 in Saturday seeding play.  With an unprecedented 4 games in one day the Lightning girls dominated in a 6-0 win over Novato Danger, 9-0 scoring barrage over Davis Legacy, 4-1 evening game over Burlingame Blitz and an impressive 9-0 win over the San Jose Thunder in the final game of the night. Moving on to Sunday the girls met up with D2 rival, Santa Clara Sporting, to a closely played 1-0 win in OT.  The championship match saw the third meeting this season against the Mustang Fury (1-1-1).  As always the match was extremely well played and the girls brought everything they had to the match.  With Lightning striking first the score was 1-0 at halftime, and then the Fury came back in the second half to tie it up.  An unfortunate call pulled back a beautiful last minute goal by Lightning in regulation to keep it at 1-1 at the blow of the whistle.  Finally after a scoreless first OT, the girls went into a second OT. Where again, Lightning netted first with an impressive series of touches on the ball for a goal.  Mustang came back in the final seconds of the second OT to tie it up at 2-2 and then into PKs.  Mustang ultimately prevailed in the PK shootout to claim the championship. The fans from both teams and the many spectators watching saw a great game and were impressed by all of the girls on the field. The girls should be proud that they gave up the least amount of goals of any team in the tournament - only 2 goals allowed in regulation play. Now on to face the Best of the Best at the Girls Surf Cup in Del Mar.  Go Lightning, represent NorCal well!

Monday, December 5
Lightning Strikes at Nike Girls Surf Cup!
Semi-finalists: MVLA Dazzles in Del Mar.
The Lightning girls treated their families to a wonderful weekend of soccer November 25-27th in Del Mar, California.  The weather was beautiful and the girls were ready to take on the Best of the Best.  Friday afternoon the girls met up with SoCal Blues Blue and while they outshot their opponent 18-4, they simply could not find the net.  That game ended in a 0-0 tie.  By Saturday morning the girls were fresh and ready to leave it all out on the field.  Again, they started off hot, striking first in their match against the Del Mar Sharks.  The Sharks just could not find their way past the fierce Lightning back line. Lightning won 1-0, but again outshot their opponent by a wide margin.  The final bracket game was against the WCFC club, which was in first place on points.  The game was fought hard from the moment the whistle blew.  In classic fashion, Lightning struck first with an impressive four player pass combination.  WCFC tied it up with a DFK outside the box...followed by another DFK at the 20 to take the lead.  Never wavering, the Lightning girls put together another impressive show of skill and placement to quickly tie it up.  WCFC had an opportunity to take the lead with a Penalty Kick, but could not get it through the formidable Lightning defense.  The WCFC match ended up in a 2-2 tie and was good enough for Lightning to advance to the Semi-finals.  The girls were fired up for the semi match against the Surf White team. Within 5 minutes they took the lead in the match.  At halftime the score remained 1-0 for Lightning.  Surf was able to tie it up in the opening moments of the second half with a DFK from about 25 out.  The ball was placed beautifully into the upper V.  Lightning stormed back down the field and created some great opportunities to take the lead again but time ran short and the score remained 1-1 in regulation.   In the first golden goal overtime period neither team had a shot on goal.  In the waning few seconds of the second overtime period Surf was able to tap it through on a 15 player scramble in front of the MVLA goal.  It was a heartbreaker, but a terrific match.  The Lightning players and parents celebrated a wonderful first appearance at Surf Cup and look forward to returning.

Monday, April 24
A Perfect Storm
With all of the Lightning girls finally healthy, finished with winter sports, and finally getting some team practice in with a let up in the rain ... the perfect storm was set for Saturday, April 22nd at DeAnza College's beautiful all-weather field.  You could see by the look in their eyes that the Lightning girls were hungry to avenge their 2OT, PK loss to the formidable Fury for the NorCal Championship last Fall.  The stands were full and it was a standing-room-only crowd that got more than their money's worth of excellent soccer that evening.  From the moment the whistle first blew the action was non-stop.  Excellent passing, strong crossing, phenomenal trapping, multiple give and gos - the skills displayed by all girls on the field was off the charts!  Finishing was almost impossible due to the strong defenses and athleticism by both teams.  The first half ended 1-0 for Fury on a penalty in the box against Lightning.  Thankfully halftime was called and the spectators had a chance to catch their breath and stretch their legs.  The second half mirrored the first!  Lightning exploded in the second half with the tying goal obtained within the first 3 minutes of the half.  Both teams battled back and forth with great effort, concentration and endurance.  It was Lightning who ultimately penetrated through the mid, attacking the Fury defense and finally sending one into the net in the 56th minute of the game. This would not be another Lightning/Fury tie game.  The final score was 2-1, Lightning over Fury.  The girls from both teams shook hands, displayed respect and admiration for eachother and left the fields having played an amazing game.  (Note: Mustang Fury typically plays in District III and had not lost a league game in their history.  Lightning handed them their first.)

Monday, May 22
Lightning Girls Capture Another League Title!
The Lightning girls finished off the D2 Spring season (their inaugural 11v11 season) on May 22, with a solid 4-0 performance over a strong, defensive DeAnza Force team - capping a perfect 9-0-0 season.   This season the girls played on 9 different fields, in 45 mph winds, in heavy rain, in 100 degree heat, at the beautiful Santa Clara Soccer Complex, and in front of a standing room only crowd at DeAnza College.  Once again the girls dazzled their fans, spectators, refs and random onlookers with their impressive skills, endurance, athleticism and pure guts. Over and above their soccer prowess, Lightning is a group of delightful, well-mannered girls, all displaying excellent sportsmanship and character.  We look forward to watching them compete this summer in some of the top tournaments in Northern and Southern California.  Good luck girls!