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Shepparton girls impress against nation's best

Shepparton soccer players Alicia Laffy, Leia Varley and Lucy Murdoch have earned high praise for their performances for Victoria Country at the National Youth Championships.

MATTHEW GALEA July 16, 2014 3:05am

Lucy Murdoch, Alicia Laffy and Leia Varley did Shepparton and Victoria proud at last week’s national championships in Coffs Harbour.

Alicia Laffy, Leia Varley and Lucy Murdoch did Victoria proud at last week’s National Youth Championships for girls in Coffs Harbour.

Victoria Country’s under-13 girls finished fifth and suffered some heavy defeats, but assistant coach Atila Kerestas said all three players could be proud of their performances.

‘‘It was a tough week on the scoreboard, but I think on the pitch the games were fairly even,’’ Kerestas said.

‘‘Leia played centre-back for most of the tournament and she scored a very classy header from a corner against Northern NSW Select.

‘‘Lucy played at left back and both her and Leia grew in stature as players and grew in confidence as the tournament went on.’’

Kerestas reserved special praise for Laffy, who faced plenty of pressure in goals.

‘‘She was very brave all tournament and made some outstanding saves,’’ Kerestas said.

‘‘She always put her body on the line and she grew from match to match.

‘‘I was proud of all three girls. They did Shepparton and their state proud.’’

Trevor Laffy, Alicia’s father, travelled to Coffs Harbour with the girls and said the week was a pleasant one.

‘‘Both Leia and Lucy got player of the match awards and Alicia kept in every game,’’ Trevor said.

‘‘It was a fantastic week. Every day was 20 degrees, it was nice and sunny and all three Shepp girls played really well.’’

The Victoria Country girls managed a 1-1 draw against eventual champion NSW Country, missing out on the win after the opposition goalkeeper produced a stunning save to stop a last-minute Victoria Country penalty.

Capital Football — ACT’s representative team — beat Victoria Country 4-0 the next day, before it conceded another four goals in a 4-1 defeat against Northern NSW Select in which Varley scored.

The girls played their part in a thrilling 2-2 draw with Tasmania the day after before finishing the tournament with a 5-2 defeat against Northern Territory, which boasted a number of tall and quick players.

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