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Defender Woodson nets winner to give Springfield the championship 2-1 over Charlotte. Indiana finishes third.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Sunday, August 6, 2000) -- One night after being named the W-2 "Defender of the Year," Sue Woodson showcased her offensive skills, netting the winning goal that lifted the Springfield Sirens to a 2-1 decision over the Charlotte Lady Eagles for the W-2 League championship in front of 2,511 fans gathered at Fred Berte Stadium tonight.

In the 58th minute, six minutes after the third-seeded Lady Eagles evened the game at a goal apiece, Woodson redirected a header past goalkeeper Raleigh Tillman after Margaret Saurin sent a shot into the penalty area from about 20 yards. The Springfield Sirens then held on to the 2-1 advantage avenge last year’s 5-1 loss to North Texas in the final.

Sue Woodson
W-2 "Defender of the Year" Sue Woodson netted the winning goal, lifting the Springfield Sirens to a 2-1 decision over the Charlotte Lady Eagles for the league championship.
"Usually I sit in front of the goal on corner kicks and pray for someone to hit it to me," Woodson said. "When I saw (Saurin), I said ‘Come on Mags, just hit it to my head.’ We knew we needed to pick up the intensity and we knew we needed the next goal."

Charlotte had tied the game in the 52nd minute when Deanna Kreidel and Tiffany Tisdale connected for the second time in the tournament on a corner kick. Tisdale’s boot found Kreidel six yards out at the far post and the 5-foot-11 defender easily headed the ball past goalkeeper Kim Bridge.

Springfield went ahead 1-0 in the eighth minute when Geraldine O’Shea netted Saurin’s corner kick of their own in the eighth minute.

"We talked about getting that first goal in the dressing room," Springfield coach Derek Shea said. "But, Charlotte came right back at us and when they tied it, I thought to myself, ‘We’re going to have a dogfight here.’"

Kreidel helped the Charlotte defense keep the Sirens from adding to their first one-goal lead. And as the teams headed to the locker room at halftime, Lady Eagles Coach Lee Horton was pleased with his team’s performance.

"If you had asked me before the game if I’d be comfortable down 1-0 at halftime in their stadium, I’d say yes," Horton said. "I felt if we could tie it up, they might start to panic a little because of what happened to them last year. But to their credit, they came right back and got one."

After Erin Fluck left the game in the 83rd minute with an injury, the Lady Eagles began to mount their final comeback. The teams finished even in shots, but Charlotte was never able to produce another serious scoring chance against Bridge and the Sirens.

Springfield’s Amanda Matthews was named tournament "Most Valuable Player."

In the third-place match, a pair of substitutes scored goals to help the Indiana Blaze overcome a one-goal deficit and defeat the Oklahoma Outrage, 2-1 in sudden death.

Kara Bryan, who came on in the 65th minute, slotted the ball into the far corner of the net after receiving a cross from the left side from Joy Aschenbrener eight minutes into overtime to give Indiana the victory.

Halftime substitute Alisa Pykett had tied the game at 1-1 in the 72nd minute on a spectacular diving header at the far post on a cross from Lori Lindsey.

The Outrage, despite playing with only one eligible substitute, took the lead midway through the first half when Cami Bybee finished a corner kick taken by Andi Lute in the 22nd minute.

Springfield Sirens 2, Charlotte Lady Eagles 1

Lineups: Springfield - Kim Bridge, Jen Bhalla, Tara Foley (Sonya Maher 88), Sue Woodson, Kelli Hurley (Marie Spinelli 58), Sylvia Gee, Amanda Matthews, Margaret Saurin; Geraldine O'Shea, Claire Scanlan, Rachel LeDuc. Charlotte - not available.

Springfield - O'Shea (Saurin) 8.
Charlotte - Kreidel (Tisdale) 52.
Springfield - Woodson (Saurin) 58.

Total shots: Springfield 11, Charlotte 11. Shots on goal: Springfield 9, Charlotte 9. Saves: Springfield - Vallow 8; Charlotte - Tillman 7. Fouls: Springfield n/a, Charlotte n/a. Offside: Springfield n/a, Charlotte n/a. Corner kicks: Springfield 6, Charlotte 5. Yellow card cautions: n/a.

Referee: n/a. Referee's assistants: n/a. Attendance: 2,511 at Fred Berte Stadium in Springfield, Mass. Weather: Light rain, 70's.

Notes: Noelle Meeke scored more than half of her team’s goals in leading the New York Magic to a 6-5-1 record and the W-2 League in scoring with 30 points on 14 goals and two assists. For her efforts, Meeke was named the league’s "Most Valuable Player."

Meeke helped New York recover from a 1-3-1 start to string together five straight victories and make a run for the Northern Conference championship. It is the second straight season Meeke has taken home hardware after being the league’s assist leader in 1999.

The Magic forward also tied as the top goal scorer in the league with Springfield Sirens forward Rachel LeDuc. The Longmeadow, Mass. native scored four times in the Sirens final regular season game, a 6-3 victory over Rhode Island, to pull even with Meeke at 14.

The United Soccer League also honored the W-2 "Coach of the Year" Hank Leung. The Northern Virginia Majestics coach led his team to a .500 season and a third-place finish in the Atlantic Conference.

Following the franchise’s inaugural season in which it went winless in 11 games, Leung led the team to a four-game unbeaten streak to open the season. The Majestics finished 5-5-2 and 10 points behind first-place Charlotte. The Majestics allowed only 18 goals during the 12-game season, which tied for the league-best.

The W-2 "Goalkeeper of the Year" was Springfield’s Kim Bridge. The 23-year-old native of Enfield, Conn. had a perfect record of 8-0 and a 1.17 goals-against average in 10 appearances for the Sirens during the regular season.

The "Rookie of the Year" was Charlotte midfielder Nkiru Okosieme. The Nigerian national team member, who has played in three Women’s World Cups, was the team’s leading scorer with 15 points on six goals and three assists.

For the second consecutive season, the league’s "Defender of the Year" award went to a member of the Springfield Sirens. Woodson led the Sirens defense, which surrendered just 19 goals on the season. Though the team’s offense was tied as the most potent in the league with 35 goals scored, the Sirens had the best goal-differential at plus-16. Heather Boisvere won the award last year when the team allowed just 10 goals over the 12-game season.

Just as the goal scoring title went to a pair of players, two women tied as the W-2 assist leaders. Emma Mead of the New Hampshire Lady Phantoms and Kara Bryan of the Indiana Blaze led the field with five helpers apiece.

Bridge, Woodson, Mead, Okosieme, Meeke and LeDuc were all named to the W-2 All-League team, long with Kreidel (Charlotte), Penny Stansfield (New York), Mercy Morrical (Oklahoma), Lindsey (Indiana) and Mary Beth Lengefeld (Cincinnati).

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