When the top two adult teams meet on the soccer field at The Center of Anna Maria Island, one can expect an exciting game with many spectators in attendance. Thursday night’s championship game did not disappoint.
To start the evening, the Center’s Recreation Director Will Schenerlein had the adult players read the Youth Sports Core Promise after the escapades that took place on and off the field during the final semi-final game the week before.
Respect, sportsmanship, and integrity were the focus of the message that Schenerlein tried to emphasize to the players participating in the co-ed recreational soccer league grand finale.
Commencing play in the heat and humidity of the early evening, the anticipation of the kickoff filled the air. The chants and cheers of the league players, friends and family became louder and more spirited with every minute of play.
Finishing at the top of the heap undefeated at the end of the season did not automatically give Team Legler Flynn Law an advantage over the strong roster of Team Lancaster Design.
Both teams started with their gentle giants in the goal: Trey Horne for Lancaster and team captain Sean Flynn for Legler Flynn.
At the start of play, Flynn’s team played with six field players and a goalie with no subs on the bench.
In the hard-to-miss bright orange jerseys, Lancaster came out on the pitch short one player due to the absence of league newbie and game changer Sumiko Chipman. John Coleman began the final game of the season on the sidelines waiting to enter the game at any time to give a teammate a breather.
Both teams came out running hard ready to make the first goal to set the tone of the game. After just 30 seconds of play, a throw-in by Lancaster Design team captain Danny Anderson was right to Robert Armstrong who headed the ball into the goal just past the reach of goalkeeper Flynn.
With the 1-0 lead, Greg DeMeuse took the soccer ball down the field finding Anderson on the other side of the goal. Anderson returned the ball to DeMeuse, giving him a scoring opportunity in front of the net.
Jeremias Gramajo brilliantly stopped the ball and prevented the point for Legler Flynn Law.
Legler Flynn fought back with a beautiful on the mark shot by Amy Ivin only to be stopped by a Lancaster defender.
Six minutes into the game, Diego Felipe took over the goalie responsibility for Legler Flynn, allowing Flynn to take the field in an attempt to tie the game.
Yorvi Moreira was denied his goal with a sliding defensive move by Horne in front of the net.
Legler Flynn Law’s solid and versatile player, Steve Oelfke, arrived on the field to give his team a much-needed extra player.
Felipe found himself just a little too far away from the goal and out of position when Anderson sent a rocket strike to put his team ahead by two.
Ivin tried to answer back with a missile of her own that went off the head of Armstrong as he leaped up in the air with his defensive move.
The goalie switch by Team Legler Flynn put Oelfke as the ultimate protector for the team with a little less than 12 minutes to play in the first half of the championship game.
Team Legler Flynn Law continued to fight hard knowing that there was plenty of time left on the clock. Felipe took is first shot that hit hard off of the hands of Horner, resulting in a corner kick. Ivin took another shot that landed at the side of the net.
Gramajo’s shot rolled the soccer ball on top of the crossbar denying his team another goal.
Unable to score despite a phenomenal effort, Legler Flynn continued to play hard down by two goals.
After goal stopping defense, Felipe took another shot with five minutes ticking off the scoreboard. His miss gave Ivin the possession. Ivin found Diego with plenty of space and time to blast the ball past the defense of Team Lancaster Design to move the score to 2-1.
Flynn dribbled the ball all the way down the field before shooting to tie the game. His shot went off Lancaster Design’s Coleman for the score-tying own goal.
In a repeat move, Flynn once again moved the offense to the goal. Horne just got a hand on Flynn’s shot preventing the shot and giving Legler Flynn Law a corner kick.
The time clock showed nothing left in the half, but the official’s clock allowed both teams to play for an additional two minutes. The battle of the defense left the score 2-2 at the whistle.
Wearing the penny, Flynn started the second half of play as the keeper. The 15 teams that played the championship game sprinted, juked, and maneuvered for more than 13 minutes before the next point was earned.
Lancaster Design got the soccer ball got to Coleman with Flynn slightly out of position giving him the go-ahead shot.
Ahead by one point, Lancaster Design found itself on the defensive attack on its end of the field for two long minutes. Moreira took the corner kick that made its way into the net to once again tie up the game.
Both teams, tired but determined, fought hard for nine minutes until the official ended regulation play with the score 3-3.
As a new rule for the season, the two teams faced off in five minutes of sudden death play – the first team to score wins – as opposed to a shootout.
Legler Flynn Law started off strong with shot attempts and corner kicks. A shot that went to the left of the post by DeMeuse could have been the winning goal for Lancaster Design.
The effective passing game by Legler Flynn Law just could not produce the critical scoring shot needed to take the championship.
With 80 seconds left in overtime play, Ricky Anderson, brother of Danny, took a shot in front of goal that was batted away by goalie Oelfke. Lady luck was smiling on Lancaster Design as the soccer ball went directly back to R. Anderson who was alone with plenty of time to produce the perfectly placed the game-winning shot.
Lancaster Design’s fourth goal gave the team the honor of being called the Paul “Ace” Hayward champions for the spring 2018 season.