BY KELLIE TAYLOR
This fall, women from the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University will meet in the soccer Crosstown Shootout.
But this week at the United States Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championships at Clear Creek Complex in Newtown, players from both schools have combined to form one of the top teams in the 20-and-under bracket.
Beth Wechsler, front, of Team Acceleration collides with Kelly Roethe in a head ball attempt.
(Gary Landers photo)
Team Acceleration is made up of six players from XU and six from UC. Combined with other Division I college players and three high school seniors, the team has some of the best local talent. The UC and XU players have learned to come together in the offseason.
"We all work so well together (with Team Acceleration) that it's hard to believe we can play against each other," said forward Amy Reinshagen, who attends Xavier.
On Saturday, the team won its first game of the regional tournament, 3-0, against the Wisconsin state champion, Mequon United FC. UC goalkeeper and 1997 Conference USA All-Rookie team selection, Christy Hoffman, recorded the shutout.
Team Acceleration is coached by Kim Scheper, a former UC player from 1987-90. Her husband, Rob, serves as the team's assistant coach and played on the UC men's team the same years Kim played on the women's squad.
Kim Scheper, who has coached the team since it began competing in the 15-and-under age group five years ago, thinks her team has a chance to advance to the national tournament in Phoenix.
"We're in a very competitive bracket, but this team is one of the best I've coached," Kim Scheper said. "This is the year we can have an opportunity to make it to the finals."
Last year the team was the regional runner-up in the 19-and-under division.
In Saturday's win, Amy Rodeheffer, a UC forward, scored the team's first goal when she eluded several Mequon United defenders and sent a shot into the left side of the net.
Minutes later, Reinshagen touch-passed the ball to Stacey Sollman who crossed the ball to UC's Michelle Burke on the left side of the field. Burke blasted the ball past the Wisconsin goalkeeper. The team's final goal came in the second half when Tracy Staft fired in a shot.
Michelle Burke, center, is congratulated by teammates Claire Kohake and Amy Rodeheffer after a goal.
(Gary Landers photo)
"We thought this would be the toughest game," said Clark, who has been a member of the team all five years. "It was good to get a win right away."
Team Acceleration recently beat the same Wisconsin team at a tournament when the Cincinnati team scored with just 20 seconds remaining.
"We wanted to come out to a good start," Reinshagen said.
Her twin and Xavier teammate, Christie Reinshagen, said the team could go all the way this year.
"There's no doubt that we're good enough to make nationals," she said.
Despite the commanding win, Team Acceleration suffered a setback when defensive-anchor Margaret Broe (Xavier) broke her tibia and fibula in her right leg. Broe, who had been a force in the team's backfield the entire game, collided with a United player in the second half.
Team Acceleration continues pool play 2:30 p.m. today when it faces the Indiana state champion, Carmel United.
Team Acceleration wasn't the only Cincinnati-based team competing Saturday. Defending national champion, Cardinal Premier, a wildcard in the women's 20-and-under bracket, defeated the Kansas City Cosmos 6-0; Hammer FC beat the Eclipse Select (Ill.) 4-2; the wildcard Cardinal Premier beat Tempesto (Neb.), 3-1; the Kolping Ben-gals topped the Blackhawks (Minn.), 2-0; the Lakota Heat fell to the Michigan Hawks 4-1; and Cardinal Premier lost to JB Marine (Mo.), 4-3.
Action in boys games included Cincinnati United Premier, which lost 1-0 to the Urbandale Fury (Iowa); the Lakota Blitz beat Javanon (Ky.) 1-0; Club Ohio - Dynamo tied Vardar III (Mich.), 2-2 and Club Ohio - Dynamo shut out the Wisconsin champions, Mequon United, 5-0.