Semi-final sparks fly at The Center

Center adult soccer girls
Girl power on the field: Sumiko Chipman, for Lancaster Design, prepares to dribble around Sato Real Estate defender Eliza Faillace in Thursday night’s semi-final game. - Monica Simpson | Sun

After a slow start to the night on the soccer field in the first semi-final game Thursday night, June 7, the battle for the final seat in the championship game proved to be one of the most exciting games of the league’s history.

Uncharacteristically, Team Sato Real Estate lost to the second seed team, Lancaster Design in the first semi-final showdown. Losing most of the 50-50 balls, sluggish passes and missed opportunities for Sato Real Estate places the team in the third-place game this Thursday night at 7 p.m.

Despite great efforts by the entire Sato squad and goals by team captain Josh Sato, Francisco Oliviera, and Jose Caseras, the team just could not outrun, outshoot and outplay Lancaster Design.

With non-stop speed and tireless runs, Danny Anderson, Lancaster Design team captain, was credited to one assist and two goals. Anderson’s first goal came at the 13th minute of the game, after a perfectly placed high arching shot by Sumiko Chipman three minutes into the game.

At the corner of the field, Anderson miraculously passed the soccer ball with his knee to Greg DeMeuse, who shot a rocket into the lower right corner of the net. With little time on the clock, the bullet pass by Lancaster Design’s Robert Armstrong was hit tapped off the foot of Sato Real Estate’s Nate Talucci for an own goal advancing the score to 4-1.

In the second half of the game, Sato tried to rally his team with standout play and a quick goal to take the score to 4-2, but his efforts just were not quite enough to carry the team.

League newcomer Armstrong should see himself taken at the top of the draft next season with impressive games like the one he played Thursday night, with strong field play and two goals of his own.

Leaving the goal, keeper Trey Horne, who was noted to have five saves in the game, handed the penny to DeMeuse with 12 minutes left in the game and the score 6-2.

After a Sato Real Estate goal, Armstrong sprinted down the sideline with Sato hot on his heels moving toward the Sato Real Estate goal. Goalkeeper Jordan Demers, with six saves in the game, readied himself, but just could not stop the on-the-go strike by Armstrong ending the game with the score 7-3 and moving Lancaster Design to the final game of the season.

The sparks flew in the second game of the night with exciting soccer play, heated defensive attacks by each team and high emotions on the field. Undefeated Legler Flynn Law’s solid roster faced a determined Slim’s Place.

Out of the gate, Legler Flynn’s Amy Ivin shot quickly to put her team on top early. Andre Lewis, Slim’s Place’s man to stop, answered back with the first of three goals to tie the game.

In the 14th minute of the game, Lewis fired the soccer ball past Mark Rudacille in the goal for Legler Flynn Law. With 26 minutes of regulation play left in the game, Jeremias Gramajo put the soccer ball in the net for Sean Flynn’s team.

As the first half of the game came to an end, Lewis got wrapped up with Legler Flynn defenders clotheslining one of the players. With the no call by the officials, Lewis was able to break free to take his shot for a goal, with jeers from the spectators, who thought the move was intentional, giving his team the lead going into the second half of play.

To start the final minutes of the game, Team Legler Flynn played textbook soccer with Gramajo passing to Diego Felipe. Felipe sent a rocket toward the last defender Rico Beissert with the intended receiver Yorvi Moreira in perfect position. Felipe’s shot went off the foot of Beissert for an own goal in the 25th minute of play.

With emotions increasing and the desire to win filling the air, team captain PJ Smargisso was given a yellow card after rough play on Felipe. The official’s call was the first lightning strike for the Smargisso verbal hailstorm that would ensue later in the game.

Flynn followed with an amazing free kick that hit the inside of the post once it fired past the line of defenders, putting Team Legler Flynn Law ahead 4-3.

Triple teaming the Slim’s Place strong man Lewis, the Legler Flynn defense made him work hard for every inch and every shot.

Saves by Will Case, with six saves in the match-up, kept Slim’s Place in the game up to the very last second.

Playing hard against Gramajo, Smargisso found himself on the verbal defense with a spectator, players, and Gramajo. Unable to let down, the verbal judo continued well into the second half of the game and after the final whistle was blown.

The emotional distraction and injury to Smargisso allowed Diego to work his magic on the field with solid midfield missile that was blocked but bobbled by Case, giving Moreira chance to finish and score, advancing the score to 5-3 with 10 minutes left on the scoreboard.

Diego fired another shot in an attempt to spread the score. Case held his own in the net solidly handling the soccer ball.

Avoiding the breakaway by Team Slim’s Place’s Ray Gardner, Moreira grabbed the back of Gardner’s shorts, pulling him down and stopping his progress. Moreira was called for the foul, but tempers flared as Moreira pushed Gardner in the chest.

Both players were given a yellow card with the testosterone levels at an all-time high on the field for many of the male players on both teams, as Gardner retaliated and gave Moreira a taste of his own medicine.

Taking the fiery energy onto the field, Smargisso fired one past Flynn in the goal with the help of a community center field bounce.

Down only by a single goal with just seconds left in the game, both sides fought fiercely on the field; Legler Flynn Law working to stay a point ahead and Slim’s Place hoping to at least move to a shootout.

Lewis launched a shot that went just wide of the post with 20 seconds left on the clock. On the official’s time, Gardner knocked hard shot toward the net that was grabbed by the skillful hands of Flynn to prevent the tie.

The final free kick taken by Lewis was blocked, ensuring the win for Legler Flynn Law as the official blew the whistle to end the action and emotionally packed game, advancing the team a place in the Paul “Ace” Hayward Cup championship game Thursday, June 14 at 8 p.m.

Related Coverage

Legler Flynn Law continues to dominate

Progressive Cabinetry crowned champions

Sato Real Estate controls the field