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LOUISVILLE – With six players from Oldham County playing a key role, the Javanon 92 select soccer team won the Region II soccer title in the United States Soccer Association tourney.
The team advances to the national championship tourney July 25-29 in Little Rock, Ark.
“We were pretty excited when we won,” Connor Powell, a junior at North Oldham High School, said. “It was a pretty huge win for our team.”
Powell along with NOHS teammate Brandon Causey, South Oldham’s Cullen Hall, Will Vitalis and John Cantrell and Brysen Howard, a Crestwood resident who attends Shattuck St. Marys in Minnesota, are the six Oldham Countians on the team.
They helped the 18-member Javanon team defeat Eclipse Select out of Illinois 3-1 in the finals. Causey and Vitalis both had goals in the game. Causey scored the first goal to help Javanon to a 2-1 halftime lead and Vitalis added the final, insurance goal.
In the semifinals, Javanon beat Vardar of Michigan 3-1.
“We actually thought we could do this,” Cantrell said. “Going into it, we really thought we were one of the best two teams there and that we could get to the finals.”
Javanon required a little help from Vardar West in pool play after Javanon dropped a game to KCFC of Missouri. Vardar West was able to come back from a 3-1 deficit against KCFC and win 4-3 to keep Javanon alive in the tourney.
“We were a little worried because they (KCFC) were a team we had beaten in the regular season and we never should have lost to them,” Cantrell said. “We didn’t think they (Vardar) could pull it out, but they came back and pulled it off and we all breathed a little easier.”
After that, Javanon kept its fate in its own hands.
“We lost a game we never should have lost and that’s never a good situation,” Powell said. “We just went out and took care of what we could take care of and the rest worked itself out.”
The club has had the same roster for the past two seasons after several players moved over from the Oldham County Thoroughbreds program.
They have become known for being a team in that short period of time.
“We really don’t have any superstars,” Cantrell said. “We’re just a really solid team that works together well.”
The team is also known for its offensive firepower from an excellent passing game.
“Our ability to move the ball is what we do best,” Powell said. “We move the ball a lot better than most teams our age and I think that’s what sets us apart.”
The players have no doubt what they face heading into the national tourney.
“Going into this, the level of soccer, there won’t be a bad team there,” Powell said. “I think we are up to the level of competition.”
The club becomes the third Javanon team to advance to the national tourney and hopes to become the second to win a national championship after the Under-19 title in 2006.
The players are well aware of the reputation Javanon carries in the region and on a national scale.
“There’s always pressure and there’s added pressure being with our club,” Powell said. “It’s a big honor and we just want to do the best we can representing our club and the state of Kentucky.”
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