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Best Defensive Units in the Girls Academy’s Mid-America Conference (Spring 2024 Update)

April 26, 2024, | Courtesy of

With the 2023-2024 season entering the final stretch, SoccerWire checks back in on the Girls Academy’s Mid-America Conference with a look at some of the top defensive units.

Last season, the Mid-America was one of the top defensive conferences in the Girls Academy with 19 teams earning a spot in the GA National Playoffs. The region also saw three of their teams make the finals with Sockers FC winning it all in the U19 age bracket.

Here are some of the top performing units from teams from across the GA Mid-America Conference in the U15-U19 age groups.

Nationals SC Blue 09: Blanked three consecutive opponents in conference play in April, shutting out Lexington Sporting (10-0), Cincinnati United (3-0), and Indy Premier SC (2-0). Defenders Sophia Farley, Kendel Krywko, Cate Scicluna, Emma Kesler, Jorja Lewis (who just earned an invite to April’s USYNT ID Camp), and Elianna Simion have worked alongside goalkeeper Sienna Musachio to limit opponent’s attacking influence inside of their eighteen yard box. It has paid off with Nationals pulling off a .73 Goals Against average, lowest in the Mid-America U15 Conference and leading them to the top of the table (9-1-1, 28 points).

Michigan Jaguars 09:  Earned five shutouts thus far in conference play this season while limiting opponents to just 1.2 goals per game. Defenders Lauren Bambenek, Rylee Shields, Chiara Webster, Olivia Byrd, Shea Klacking, and Morgan Hunteralongside goalkeeper Zoey Toton are coming off of a strong performance in the Spring Showcase in which they held their three opponents to just one goal while finish first in Group A.

Cincinnati United Premier 09:  Booked back-to-back shutouts last weekend, earning a draw and three points in successive matches against Lexington Sporting (0-0 and 3-0) to lift their record in Mid-America play to 6-3-1 on 19 points. They have also earned two critical victories over FC United, whose currently ahead of them in fourth place (4-0 and 3-2).

Nationals SC Blue 08:  In their first ten conference matches, Nationals have allowed just five goals, three of which came in their only non-victory when they drew with Sockers FC. Their lockdown work inside their defensive third have led the team to an undefeated record (9-0-1, 28 points). In Champions Cup play, they continued their stout defensive efforts, earning two shutouts en route to claiming top honors.

Look for defenders Grace Batershell, Ava Landstra, Kayla Butki, Ava Collier, Lily Jeakle, Conamora Ndana, Sloane Popov, and Danielle Wisser and goalkeeper Hope Pierfelice to play a pivotal role down the stretch run as the club prepares for the GA Playoffs.

Indy United Premier SC 08:  Entering into the final stretch of the season, Indy are on a roll having won eight of their last nine conference games, pulling the team into second place in the Mid-America standings (8-1-0, 24 points). Goalkeeper and SoccerWire Featured Player Isabella Gibson has played a key role in their run, nabbing five clean sheets in their eight wins.




Features for Indy Premier’s GA and GA-DPL teams. Gibson has excellent vision and can time her dives perfectly to give her the maximum chance at either making a save or parrying the shot over the bar.

Cincinnati United Premier 08:  During the month of April, CUP has been on fire winning four of five matches (4-1-0), allowing just two goals in their four wins. With four games left to play, look for their defense to play a pivotal role as they battle for a playoff spot. They have allowed just 1.4 goals per game, third lowest among all U16 Mid-America teams.

Nationals SC Blue 07:  After qualifying for last year’s GA National Playoffs, Nationals’ 07s are looking to climb even higher this season. In league play, their defense has dominated opponents, earning eight shutouts and posting a 8-1-1 record on 25 points. Defenders Sophia Benavides, Tyra Chu (2025-Minnesota), Jasmyn Goldsmith, Lily Pantaleo (2025- Virginia Tech), Olivia Schneider (Bowling Green), Kensey Teffner, Sophia Enwright (2025-Utah Valley), Sydney Goodman (2025-Michigan State), and Olivia Ogden (2025-Toledo) have worked alongside goalkeeper Brooklyn Harding to form an imposing backline that have allowed a meager .8 goals per game.

Indy United Premier SC 07:  Heading into May, Indy Premier’s defense is looking sharp having allowed only two goals in their last five conference matches. Although they fell short against Nationals Blue 1-0, their defense put up an excellent effort becoming the first team to hold the high-powered to under two goals in conference play this season. They also recorded a shutout recently at the Spring Showcase, knocking off West Coast Soccer on matchday one.

FC United Soccer Club 07:  Goalkeeper and SoccerWire Featured Player Chloe Zipprich leads an organized defensive line that earned seven shutouts in conference play. United leaped into playoff contention towards the end of 2023 when they went on a five game unbeaten run in which they allowed only one goal. Currently sitting on a 10-1-3 record on 33 points United have put themselves in a strong position as other clubs finish out their schedules.




Zipprich has verbally committed to playing college soccer in 2025 at Colorado Boulder.

Michigan Jaguars 05/06:  Allowed two goals in their last four games, winning all four matches (including a 4-0 victory over Nationals) to pull into first place in the U19 age group (7-0-2, 23 points). Their backline – which consists of Claire Casey (2024-Georgia Southern), Emily Kolodin (2024-Eastern Michigan), Aliana Perez (2024-Rochester College), Lynsay Borcherdt (2024-Oakland), Ally Wold (2024-Tampa), Ellery Boeving (2024-Eastern Michigan), and Ella Capaldi (2025-uncommitted) – have worked together to limit opponent’s chances at goal inside of the eighteen yard box.

Anything that does get in is immediately stopped by goalkeeper Macie Hunter (2025-uncommitted) who uses superior ball handling skills on the pitch and the court (she also plays high school basketball at Walled Lake Northern).

Nationals SC Blue 05/06:  With four games remaining, Nationals 06/05s look primed for another National Playoff run (7-2-1, 22 points). Their defense has more than held their own against some stiff competition in Mid-America Conference play, booking four clean sheets and earning the maximum number of points.

Their defensive corps features multiple Division I 2024 commits: McKinley Berry (Xavier), Kyleen Bradow (Detroit Mercy), Melinda Hathaway (Notre Dame), Gabriella Ruffino (Oakland), Haley Wolf (Bowling Green), Sydney Hooks (Toledo), Alexa Valiotis (DePaul), and Keira Billis (Iowa). Goalkeepers Keeley Titmuss (USWYNT U-19 member and Penn State commit) and Emily Kruntovski (Western Michigan) have formed a dynamic 1-2 partnership in goal, leading Nationals to a .6 Goals Against average in conference play this season.

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