Local Club Team Reaches Quarterfinals

Nelson Layag--Encinal High rising senior Angie St. Denis races for the ball at the Far West Championships.

Local Club Team Reaches Quarterfinals

The East Bay United Bay Oaks 05 Gold (17U Girls) team made it to the quarterfinals of the 2022 U.S. Youth Soccer Far West Regional Championships last week. The tournament was held from June 20 to 26 in Boise, Idaho.

Eight of the 17 players on the Bay Oaks team are from Alameda: Encinal High School (EHS) students Alison Jenson, Malia Layag, Isabelle Huxley, Angelina St. Denis, Gabriella Benaquista, Ila Cantrell, Alameda High School student Lauren Pustelnik, and College Prep student Claire Wong.

The Bay Oaks went 2-1 in group play, enough to win their group via tiebreaker.

“It was honestly an amazing experience,” said Layag, a rising senior. “The teams we played were really challenging and I’m so proud of our team and how well we did. This team creates such an amazing environment that I was so happy we were there the whole time. We also got first in our bracket [which] hasn’t happened at regionals for our club in over a decade. I feel like I learned and improved a lot in just this one trip.”

The team started the tournament with a 3-2 loss to Seattle United (WA) but went on to beat Vegas United SC (NV), 1-0, and Missoula Strikers (MT), 4-0.

“It was really exciting to play against teams from other states,” said EHS rising junior Isabelle Huxley. “We played against some good teams, and I’m so happy with how we all played!”

East Bay United Bay Oaks eventually bowed out in the quarterfinals, losing 1-0 to Apple Valley SC Storm (CA).

“Being able to participate in regionals was an incredible experience I’ll never forget,” said Lauren Pustelnik. “Despite playing some of the toughest competition from the western half of the country, our team performed better than I could [have] ever imagine and I’m so proud of everyone.”

Gabby Benaquista contributed to this article.

Nelson Layag   The East Bay United Bay Oaks 05 Gold (17U Girls)