The Benfica White 05 girls soccer team of the Manteca Futbol Club made a splashy debut over the weekend.
Playing in their first-ever tournament, with a roster pieced together in the last three weeks, Benfica White celebrated a third-place finish at the MFC Spring Invitational.
Morgan-Nevaeh Yslava anchored the attack with five goals in four games, while goalies Corrine Jones and Alexia Alva helped Benfica White finish tournament play at 2-1-1.
“(The girls) played great all weekend with one sub,” coach Jason Silva said. “With three players joining the team three weeks ago, it’s a fairly new team that’s never played in a tournament before.
“These girls worked so hard this weekend,” he added, “and for most of the girls on the team this is their first medal they have ever won.”
Benfica White drew even with Great Basin Chelsea (Nevada) in their tournament opener, 1-1. Yslava netted the only goal against the eventual age bracket champions.
Sienna Jones and Yslava netted two goals apiece in a 5-1 win over the Vacaville Dynamite. Both of Jones’ strikes came in the second half after a tactical decision to move her from defense to the forward line.
Kassandra Perez also found the back of the net in the runaway victory.
Benfica White clinched its third-place medals in the finale against Vacaville, rebounding from a shutout loss to the Burlingame Thunder.
Paris Rangel and Yslava staked Benfica White to a two-goal lead in the first half. Yslava tallied her fifth goal of the tournament to clinch the 4-1 victory. Sienna Jones tacked on her third goal of the weekend to round out of the scoring.
Silva said Benfica White was inspired by its Benfica Red, age-group teammates who play in higher division. Benfica Red also finished third, winning the consolation championship in a penalty kick shootout.
“After watching their teammates on Benfica Red win third place, Benfica White was pumped up,” Silva said, “and wanted to join them by collecting a medal of their own.”
Silva lauded the play of his goalies, Corrine Jones and Alva, both of whom have only recently learned to play the position.