Sato Real Estate to defend title

Center soccer Sato semi-finals
Sato Real Estate's Eric Pullen skillfully moved the soccer ball down the field with the Ross Built Construction's defender applying the pressure last Tuesday night. - Monica Simpson | Sun

The Center of Anna Maria Island field saw six games of co-ed, adult soccer last week as the eight teams went head-to-head in the fall season’s playoffs games. In the end, top-ranked Sato Real Estate captured two wins in the week, solidifying the team’s place in the Paul “Ace” Hayward Cup championship game Thursday night.

The pitch lights were on Tuesday night for the quarterfinal games. The cold night thinned out the crowd, but the faithful fans of futbol stayed to watch the closest match of the night between Moss Builders and AMI Locals.

After extra play in overtime, the two teams selected each of their best five shot makers to battle it out in penalty kicks. Fourth-ranked Moss Builders prevailed, winning the game by one goal. The win moved Ryan Moss’ Moss Builders into the semi-final action.

Jiffy Lube, Lancaster Design and Sato Real Estate also played Thursday night to determine the final play lineup.

With four teams vying for one of the two final spots, Moss Builders’ Adam Bujarski was the only man in a blue jersey that could find the net. Goalie Jordan DeMers solidly protected his net making 11 saves on the night, but their efforts just were not enough against Kris Yavalar’s Lancaster Design.

On the other side of the field, last season’s Sato Real Estate key player, Zachary Lieb, put in two goals to help his new team, Lancaster Design, clinch a spot in the cup game.

Lieb’s teammates Cemal Duzgan and Ryan Hogan contributed with their all-important points in the game for the win.

Sato Real Estate’s Trey Horne solidified his place as one of the league’s top goalies with 13 recorded saves. Horne’s team did not have an easy go of its semifinal game against Jiffy Lube. The battle royale put the #1 and #2 teams against each other one last time in the season.

Team captain Danny Anderson scored two of the team’s four points. Brother Ricky had one of his own. Frontman Brayan Felipe had a solo goal as well.

But the goals of Josh Sato, team captain, two goals by Andrew Schmidt and singles by Francisco Oliviera and Eric Pullen gave Sato Real Estate the win by one goal in overtime.

Sato Real Estate’s narrow victory gives the team a chance to repeat last season’s success and continue to reign as champions. Yavalar looks to put another championship under his name Thursday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. at The Center.

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