I appreciate the comments from those who have responded to my question. I would like to add a postscript to the events that took place after the game on Saturday.
First, my niece is doing fine. Kids are pretty resilient and I think she was able to cope with the loss a lot better than I would have, and for that I applaud her.
Second, I noticed after the game that the coach from the opposing team approached my niece. I wasn't close enough to hear what he was saying to her, but it appeared to me that he was offering some nice words of encouragement. However, as I learned the next day, he was very unhappy with my niece because she elbowed his daughter in the closing seconds of the game. The coach took the opportunity to not offer words of encouragement, but instead to scold my niece, who was already feeling pretty bad about the loss. Suffice to say, his words didn't help Marisa's emotional disposition and they shook her up even more.
In getting Marisa's side of the story, the young girl apparently shoved my niece, who responded with the elbow. Now, this all probably seems funny and childish as you're reading it, I'm sure. I don't deny that my niece elbowed the girl. If Marisa takes after my side of the family, we've got fiery German blood coursing through our veins and we are very competitive.
However, what this coach on the other team failed to see was his daughter's original push. He only witnessed the back end of the play, which was my niece's elbow. But what this coach failed to understand is that things are going to happen in the heat of battle and, in my opinion, you let them slide off your back with that knowledge.
For him to single out my niece I think was wrong. If I would have heard what he was saying to Marisa, I don't think I could have been held accountable for the things I probably would have said and done in defense of my niece. Well, maybe I would have. LOL. Anyway, I would love to get your opinion as to whether this guy was in the right to approach my niece? Or, do you feel my niece was wrong to defend herself by throwing the elbow.