The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH)

Mewis makes memories with first World Cup

- By Anne M. Peterson

After making her first goal in the World Cup, 26-year-old Sam Mewis found her parents in the crowd and blew them a kiss. A simple gesture to say thanks for all they’ve done to get her where she is.

PARIS >> After scoring in her first Women’s World Cup game, Sam Mewis scanned the crowd, found her parents and blew them a kiss.

The gesture was meant as a thank you for all the hard work Bob and Melissa Mewis had put in to make sure their youngest daughter was prepared for the sport’s biggest stage.

“For them to see this big moment in my life and in my career, it was awesome and I really feel like we got to share that,” she said.

Mewis finished with two goals in the U.S. national team’s, 13-0, rout of Thailand to open the tournament in Reims on June 11. Afterward, the team was criticized for the lopsided score and for celebratin­g after late goals when the victory was already well in hand.

But nothing was going to taint Mewis’ big night.

Mewis, 26, didn’t make the roster for the 2016 Olympics but was named an alternate for the squad. What: Women’s World Cup Group F Match

When: Noon, June 16

Where: Parc des Princes

TV: WJW

A fixture on the youth national teams, she became a regular with the senior squad in 2017 — until a serious knee injury that November sidelined her for the first half of 2018.

She bounced back from the injury and made the roster for the World Cup but there were no expectatio­ns she would start — until the day before the opener.

That’s when she got word that center back Becky Sauerbrunn was ruled out because of a quad injury and defensive midfielder Julie Ertz was sliding to the backline. That opened up a spot for Mewis to start in the midfield, along with fellow World Cup rookies Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle.

Oh, and they both scored, too. As did first-timer Mallory Pugh.

Although the United States overall was blasted for the goal celebratio­ns, there was an understand­ing that the young players making their World Cup debuts deserved to revel a bit in their goals.

Mewis also was credited with a pair of assists.

“She’s a dynamic player that can impact a game,” Coach Jill Ellis said in the run-up to France. “When you go to a World Cup, in midfield you need to have players who can score from distance, who can get in the box and obviously playmake. I think there’s versatilit­y in Sam.”

Megan Rapinoe nicknamed her 6-foot teammate “Tower of Power.”

Mewis, a former UCLA standout, currently plays profession­ally for the North Carolina Courage, which won the National Women’s Soccer League title last year. Her sister, Kristie Mewis, plays for the NWSL’s Houston Dash.

The two are staying in touch, with Kristie providing encouragem­ent from afar because the Dash are in the midst of the season.

“I was a little bit nervous a couple days leading up to the first game and was texting with her,” Sam Mewis said. “And just having her there to reassure me, someone who’s been with me literally from the beginning and totally understand­s the journey that I’ve been on and has shared in a lot of it with me. I really just totally trust her opinion. When she said, ‘Sam you’re going to be fine, you’re going to kill it,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, OK, you’re right.’ I believed her and it made me feel a lot better.”

It is unclear whether Mewis will keep her starting role because there’s no word on Sauerbrunn’s status for the team’s second game Sunday in Paris against Chile. Sauerbrunn’s absence, if extended, could be a concern later in the tournament when the U.S. defense will be tested more.

“We have a lot more in front of us, to hopefully continue have more exciting moments,” Mewis said. “But it’s been great so far and we’re excited to see what’s next.”

Patrick Maroon lifting the Stanley Cup above his head in a St. Louis Blues uniform fulfilled a lifelong dream.

The moment didn’t compare to holding the Cup just low enough for his son to kiss it. Maroon will be hailed as a hometown hero for signing with the Blues and helping them win their first championsh­ip, but what is most important to him was the chance to be around 10-year-old son Anthony and celebrate with him.

“This is truly something I’ll never forget,” Maroon said. “Me and my son will take this to our grave, and we’ll have memories for life.”

The Maroons on June 15 will get the chance to ride in the first Blues championsh­ip parade, the culminatio­n of Maroon’s gamble on himself to take less money and a one-year deal to be around his family.

Patti Maroon was almost speechless at the sight of her youngest son holding the Stanley Cup for her grandson to enjoy. It was a year full of ups and downs, from a horrendous start to the season to an 11game winning streak, the chance to play in Anthony’s father/son game and the death of his grandfathe­r, Ernie.

Maroon hugged his grandfathe­r on his deathbed just before the playoffs and told him he’d win the Stanley Cup for him. The chance to be around his family on the ice in Boston on June 12 with the Cup represente­d a brand new high.

“Something like I’ve never experience­d in my life,” Patti said. “It doesn’t get better than this. All your dreams as a child and being in the NHL, to get this far, words can’t even explain.”

Maroon authored a signature moment of the championsh­ip run when he scored in double overtime of Game 7 in the second round against Dallas. Patti Maroon ranked that moment — Anthony cried when his dad scored — right up there with the Stanley Cup.

Now, about that Stanley Cup. It’s a little different than the makeshift trophy Patrick, his brothers and their friends played for in Patti and Phil Maroon’s basement in Oakville, just outside St. Louis.

Businesses on Telegraph Road there have been trumpeting messages like, “Congratula­tions hometown boy” or offering Maroon a free car wash. If Anthony has anything to say about it, Oakville’s main street will host his dad’s summer celebratio­n.

“It feels great to have my dad win the first Stanley Cup that he’s ever won,” Anthony said. “He’s going to bring it back on Telegraph Road, you know? ... I’m really proud of him.”

Maroon’s parents beamed with pride as he took the Cup from teammate Colton Parayko and wanted his son to touch it. He handed it to one of his brothers, too, because this has always been about family for Maroon.

“It’s amazing,” Maroon said. “Who wouldn’t want it like that? Being from St. Louis and signing in St. Louis and winning the Stanley Cup and bringing it home and being with my family and friends.”

Phil Maroon was there when his youngest son was drafted in 2007 in Columbus, when he made his NHL debut in 2011 in Chicago. A longtime season-ticket holder himself, Phil’s thoughts raced back and forth between Patrick winning the Stanley Cup and that he did so for the city of St. Louis.

“Patrick has been dreaming of this his entire life,” Phil said. “And he got the opportunit­y this year and the team came together as one and I couldn’t be more happier for the St. Louis Blues organizati­on and most importantl­y the St. Louis fans who have been waiting 49 years. My son, so surreal. This is unbelievab­le.”

Maroon would always pretend to be Brett Hull in childhood basement games, but Hull had to go elsewhere to win the Stanley Cup. The same goes for Chris Pronger, and neither Adam Oates nor Keith Tkachuk ever won it.

Reminded that this Blues team did what 50 others in the franchise’s history couldn’t, Maroon flashed a big smile.

“We did it,” Maroon said. “We did it. There’s nothing else. We deserve this.”

The Associated Press

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 ?? ALESSANDRA TARANTINO — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? United States’ scorer Samantha Mewis, center, and her teammates celebrate their side’s fourth goal during the Women’s World Cup Group F soccer match between United States and Thailand at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France on June 11.
ALESSANDRA TARANTINO — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS United States’ scorer Samantha Mewis, center, and her teammates celebrate their side’s fourth goal during the Women’s World Cup Group F soccer match between United States and Thailand at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France on June 11.

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