At the end of regular season play, the final two slots in the championship bracket could have been filled by any of the eight teams in the Island’s adult co-ed soccer league. Only the top two odd ranked teams remain after nine weeks of action on the pitch, first seed Slim’s Place and third seed Jiffy Lube.
Slim’s Place held the top of the record sheet throughout the season, while Jiffy Lube held its own despite injuries and losses to finish the season strong as it showed why the Anderson brothers and the rest of the solid team roster put it in the final game of the season.
The final score of the first game Thursday night does not clearly depict the struggle and fight that Team Mulock Flynn Law had to put up against Team Jiffy Lube in the second half of the game. With team captain Sean Flynn in the goal for most of the game, it was up to the rest of the team to put points on the scoreboard.
Mulock Flynn’s defense just could not stop Ricky Anderson who finished the game with four goals.
Jiffy Lube started the game off with the first goal of the night five minutes into the semi-final game with a hot shot by Eliza Faillace after strong passing down the field.
Mulock Flynn Law quickly tied up the game with the cross-field pass by Aaron Parkin, taking Jiffy Lube goalkeeper Jason Sato out of position, allowing sister-in-law Lexi Sato to hit the net.
Three minutes later, Chris Scott made his move with the soccer ball against Jiffy Lube defender Brad Laudicina to allow Sarah Greene to score her single goal of the night, moving Mulock Flynn ahead 1-2.
Chris Klotz landed his tying goal in the 15th minute of the game, showing the caliber of play by both teams.
In the last few minutes of the game, Scott was all by himself at the Jiffy Lube end of the field with defender Chris Culhane sprinting full speed trying to catch him before he got the shot off. Scott’s goal put Mulock Flynn Law ahead once again, but not for long.
Working the other end of the field, Culhane made a beautiful pass to Anderson, who was in perfect position in front of the goal, with less than 30 seconds on the scoreboard to once again tie the game 3-3.
Right before the halftime whistle blew, Anderson once again struck in front of the net, temporarily leaving the score 4-3 after 23 minutes of play.
With the game’s momentum on its side, Team Jiffy Lube started the second half of the game with the Anderson brothers connecting after three minutes of play. Team captain Danny Anderson found R. Anderson who made a huge strike for another goal, putting Jiffy Lube up by two points and giving R. Anderson a hat trick.
Minutes later, off the hands of goalie Flynn, R. Anderson hit his fourth and final goal of the night, advancing the score to 6-3.
In the last six minutes of the game, Team Mulock Flynn rallied, putting two more goals on the scoreboard. Ivan Gaeta hit the net in the 41st minute of the game. Gaeta’s girlfriend and league veteran Jessica Williams scored her goal with no time left on the board.
Only down by one goal and with the soccer ball on Jiffy Lube’s end of the field, Flynn’s team kept fighting in the last minute of official game time, hoping to take the game to a shootout. As the 60 seconds click down, J. Sato slowed the game down for Jiffy Lube, preventing the shot and the score, giving his team the win and capturing the first spot in the championship game.
Playing without their team captain Josh Sato, Team Sato Real Estate came up two goals short in the second semi-final game of the night against Slim’s Place.
Sato Real Estate’s Bobby Troxler started of the scoring after four minutes of play, putting the ball past goalkeeper David Greene. Matt Kretzmann answered back for Slim’s Place a few minutes later with his shot that whizzed by Adam Mott in goal.
After leaving the field with a nagging injury, Slim’s Place’s team captain Kris Yavalar put another point on the board, followed by Kretzmann’s second goal of the game four minutes later to end the half with a two-point lead.
With the score 3-1, Kretzmann started the second half of play with another goal in the 27th minute of play.
Defense and missed shots dominated the next 13 minutes of the game until Zoran Kolega came alive for Team Sato Real Estate. Hitting the net with six minutes on the scoreboard, “Z” moved the score to 4-2.
Kretzmann used his strong strike against Mott for another goal. Teammates Lyn Clarke and Angela Wiles scored their single goals giving Slim’s Place a four-point lead, 6-2.
A quick energy shift came too late for Sato Real Estate with a goal by Junior Guerra and a gorgeous pass from Nate Welch to Kolega for the header into the net.
Down by two goals with two official minutes left in the game, Sato Real Estate fought hard for the next goal, but just could not make it happen.
Can Yavalar once again lead a team against the “curse of the first,” that has plagued so many first place teams in the past? The healthy Jiffy Lube team looks hard to beat.
The match-up Thursday, Dec. 7 at 9 p.m. is surely not to disappoint. Who will take home the Paul “Ace” Hayward Cup?