Sunrise SC 2004 Black made its first trip to the Southern Regional Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina after winning the Region 3 Premier League, and capturing the 2018 Florida State Championship. Even though it was their first time in Southern Regionals, the Sunrise SC 2004 Black team was determined to make a strong run for an opportunity to play in the USYS National Championships.
The first game of the Region Championships slotted Sunrise SC 2004 Black against the state champions of Alabama, BUSA United. The game went back and forth the first half with each team failing to find the back of the net. The second half kicked off with an Emily Thompson upper 90 goal just two minutes after the intermission. Sunrise SC 2004 Black then doubled their lead with a goal in the 67th minute by Molly Conn, assisted off a cross by Romiana Witek. Sunrise SC 2004 Black held on for its first shutout and win. The 2-0 win against BUSA left Sunrise SC 2004 Black tied atop of Group D standings after matchday 1.
On matchday 2, Sunrise SC 2004 Black squared off against the State Runner-up from Louisiana, Baton Rough SC. This time it took 11 minutes for Sunrise SC 2004 Black to take a 1-0 lead off volley finish from Molly Conn, assisted from Diana Pon. Sunrise SC held that 1-0 lead into the halftime break. After intermission Sunrise SC 2004 Black doubled its lead in the 60th minute when Diana Pon found the net off of a cross from Emily Thompson. It was the second shutout win for Sunrise SC 2004 Black.
Matchday 3 saw the top two teams in Group D faceoff, Sunrise SC 2004 Black against IFC 04 Red from Mississippi. The winner of the matchup would decide the Group D, and the first half saw back and forth action between the top two seeds. The game went into the halftime break tied scoreless. The second half saw an explosion of 3 Sunrise SC goals in the first 25 minutes of the second half. The goals came off of a trio of fantastic outside shots to break the game wide open. In the 46 minute, Emily Thompson opened the scoring with a 30 yard shot. Molly Conn then increased the lead to 2-0 with her own 30 yard strike. And just 3 minutes later, Emily Kahler, added another 30 yard laser to put Sunrise SC 2004 Black comfortably ahead 3-0. The 3-0 game ended in another shutout win for Sunrise SC, and a spot in the Southern Regionals Quarterfinals.
Matchday 4 was a rematch of the 2018 Florida State Championship Game, Sunrise SC 2004 Black and Florida Rush 04. The game was reminiscent of the thrilling double overtime state title game just 3 weeks prior. A motivated Florida Rush team applied pressure early, creating havoc in the final third of the field. They were almost rewarded the lead seconds before halftime, but Sunrise SC goalkeeper, Sophia Garcia, made two big time saves to keep the game level 0-0 at halftime. The second half brought more fireworks from the two Florida powers. Sunrise SC striker, Emily Thompson, took a pass from Alexa Garcia in the 55th minute, half-turned and hit a nearly impossible bender from 25 yards to put Sunrise SC up 1-0. Florida Rush pressed forward trying to equalize the game, and nearly found the net but their freekick hit the crossbar. A frantic last 10 minutes of play saw a strong defensive effort by Kendall Watts, Mikayla Morales, K’la Barnes-Blackwood, Jessica Oliveras, Dori Johnson and Macey Mathews, which kept the clean sheet. And more importantly with the 1-0 win Sunrise SC 2004 Black advanced to the Southern Regionals Semifinals.
On Matchday 5, Sunrise SC 2004 Black was slotted to play Solar 04 Rundell from North Texas with a berth to the Southern Regionals Championship game on the line. The game started with Sunrise SC 2004 Black controlling the game with dominant central play from Mia Young, Savannah Hydes, Inez O’Neill, Laniaya DelValle, Alexa Garcia, Macey Mathews, and Emily Kahler. The breakthrough for Sunrise SC came in the 20th minute when Mia Young initiated the break and assisted to an Emily Thompson 25 yard strike to put Sunrise SC up 1-0. The game headed into the halftime break with Sunrise SC 2004 Black up 1-0. The second half saw more strong possession play from Sunrise SC 2004 Black, and in the 57th minute Romiana Witek played the ball to Emily Thompson. She beat two defenders off the dribble and slotted the ball into the back of the net to put Sunrise SC 2004 Black up 2-0. The game opened up as Solar 04 Rundell pushed forward. Sunrise SC 2004 Black iced away the game from a composed group of forwards, that included Leyla Molina, Molly Conn, Romiana Witek, Emily Thompson, Diana Pon, and Alexa Garcia. The 2-0 earned a 5th consecutive shutout win, and more importantly propelled Sunrise SC 2004 Black into the Southern Regionals Final.
On the final day of Southern Regionals, Sunrise SC 2004 Black met FC Dallas Blue in the Championship Game. No Sunrise SC team had ever advanced to the Semifinals of Southern Regionals in their first trip to the event. The final game saw a heated back and forth game from both sides. Sunrise SC goalkeeper, Sophia Garcia, kept the clean sheet with a couple huge saves in the first half of play. The championship game headed into halftime scoreless. The second half of play saw the same intensity from both sides with a trip to the National Championships at stake. In the 46th minute, Savannah Hydes, found the back of the net from a 25 yard strike to put Sunrise SC ahead 1-0. FC Dallas Blue turned up the pressure, determined to not allow their season to end. With 3 minutes left to play in the Southern Regional Final, the Sunrise SC 2004 Black team finally allowed their first goal in 6 games. FC Dallas Blue finished a set piece with 3 minutes left to play to deny Sunrise SC 2004 Black the Regional Championship. The game ended in a 1-1 tie and headed into overtime. FC Dallas Blue kept the momentum going by striking in the overtime period and winning the Southern Regional Final 2-1. A historic run by the Sunrise SC 2004 Black team fell just short in the Southern Regional Final. The team finishes the 2017-2018 season by winning 30 out of their last 32 games. Congratulations to the Sunrise SC 2004 Black team coaches, players, and parents. Below are a list of their 2017-2018 accomplishments:
- 2018 Southern Regionals Finalist
- 2018 Florida State Cup Champions
- Region 3 Premier League- 1st Place (8W-1T)
- 2018 Jefferson Cup Finalist
- 2018 GPS Kickoff Champions
- 2017 Disney Showcase Semifinalist