Thursday, Apr. 18 saw the MC Scots soccer program finish off their spring practice season on a light-hearted and highly enjoyable note.
Under the lights, the Scots crossed the white line for the last time this year, as both the men and women took to the pitch for the first annual 6 vs. 6 Co-Ed Soccer Championship.
After an industrious and productive spring schedule that was all business, marked by both the men and women’s teams punching well above their weight to secure very well-earned ties in friendlies against Carson Newman, the 6 vs. 6 tournament was a perfect parting gesture for all involved with the program.
The goalposts were shifted quite a bit for this uniquely formatted contest, but took nothing away from the overall spectacle. On a small-sided pitch that spanned only a quarter of the regular-sized field, the five teams, compiled by team captains in an extremely tense and calculated lunchtime draft prior to the evening fixtures, fought out the round robin tournament in 10-minute matches.
In accordance with traditional rules, a win bagged a team three points, with a tie earning just the one. However, with no goalkeepers between the sticks, and addition of the potentially game-changing “bird goal” rule–which meant girls’ goals counted double—the emphasis was on entertainment and the advantage was that of the goal scorers.
The prize laying in wait for the tournament champions to be was a mouth-watering prospect. With the winners having the choice of a steak dinner at Head Coach Pepe Fernandez’s house or a day out on Fernandez’s boat, there was much to play for. With ‘steaks’ so high, a huge amount rested on the draft selections, with drafting strategies proving undeniably pivotal in the final outcome of the evening.
Hotly fancied post-draft joint favorites Lex Luthers and Spamers looked in great shape to make a run at the title; however, both teams failed to realize the potential they had on paper.
In some pre-tournament banter on a popularized social media website, Lex Luthers skipper Alexis Franco was feeling very confident about her team’s chances of victory.
Franco said, “The Lex Luthers are ready to dominate against the puny Pinkys! Just wait until the first game!”
While complacency may have cost the Lex Luthers a shot at gold, it was far more of a mystery trying to diagnose the reasoning behind the Spamers downfall.
However, despite their lack of results, team captain Adam Spannbauer did find positives in their performance and saw the tournament as an overall success for all of the teams involved.
He said, “The comradery was palpable; team spirit was soaring on the wings of bird goals.”
The attack-loaded Blondies and Ashterburners, captained by rising seniors Lauren Ward and Ashley Howard respectively, undoubtedly put on the show of the night, with the Blondies coming back from a 4-0 deficit to win 5-4 with literally the last kick of the game, maximizing the ‘bird goal’ rule to score four goals in the last two minutes.
However, it was the masterful, albeit rather risky, drafting policy of senior-to-be Joe Pinkston, based on graft, hard work, organization, and defensive tenacity which paid off.
Pinskston said, “When i was drafting my championship squad i had two things in mind: well rounded players who are unselfish. That’s what put our team on top.”
Pinkston’s Pinkys found the perfect balance of birds and goals on their way to four consecutive victories and the overall championship.
Associate Head Coach Jon Baker summed up the evening’s events.
Baker said, “The first 6 v 6 co-Ed tournament was a great success, and it was a great way to end our spring practice. We felt that both teams took a step forward this spring, and, hopefully, it will be a springboard to the fall season.”
With so much reward coming from the tournament right across the board, it is safe to say the Pinkys will be required to defend their title next spring. The goal and the challenge now will be to take this winning mentality and competitive spirit evident during the spring season into the fall to stamp the Scots authority on the USA South oncemore and make a very realistic run at the NCAA tournament.