The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 16 No. 39 - July 27, 2016


Wash Family Construction captures its first Hayward Cup

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

monica simpson | SUN

Hayward Cup champions Wash Family Construction pictured
under the Ace's Corner smiledeep memorial plaque
revealed on Feb. 26, 2016, in honor of Paul Hayward.
Bottom row (left to right): Sponsor Darren Wash, Lyn Clark,
Jackson Kai Hayward, Caitlin Lemmond and Kyle Lessig.
Second row (left to right): Sean Flynn, Jenn Sayko, Murat Akay,
Rico Beissert and Andre Lewis.

The top two teams of the adult co-ed recreational soccer league faced each other in the Paul "Ace" Hayward Cup championship game Thursday night. In the rare occurrence, the top seeded team Wash Family Construction (WFC) played second seed Eason Builders Group (EBG) in 46 minutes of intense action on the pitch.

Adult soccer at the Island's community center brings out players from other teams, family and friends to cheer on individual players and teams. This championship night was no different – both stands were full with a dozen other spectators along the sideline.

With strong veteran players on both team rosters, neither team played the championship game with their veteran starter goalies. Both Jason Sato, starting goalkeeper for Wash Family Construction, and Scott Rudacille, Eason Builders Group goalie, had to miss the game.

Lucky for both teams, their back up goalies are just as strong in the goal as they are on the field. Community center league veterans Nate Talucci took over the protector role for EBG, while powerhouse Rico Beissert played keeper for WFC.

In the championship game, neither team had players on the bench for periodic substitutions. WFC played the championship game without strong field players Steve Oelfke and James Clifford. All 16 players battled the full playing time. Excitement and adrenaline pushed each player past the injuries and fatigue.

Wash Family Construction captain Lyn Clark found his traditional place on the field near the scoring goal. Clark, 76, started the season vowing that he would take his team to the championship and win it for his frequent teammate and friend Beissert. Despite his many years of effort, Beissert had not won a championship at The Center.

The energy on the field was high and filled with anticipation for the presentation of the Hayward Cup by Paul Hayward's six-year old son Jackson Kai.

After less than two minutes of play, WFC's Kyle Lessig found himself taking the first corner kick of the game. Determined to score, Murat Akay scored for Wash Family on Lessig's second corner kick.

With the score 1-0, both teams appeared to turn up the level of determination. Smartly, WFC put Lessig on Eason Builders Group's high scorer and Team Captain Anthony Barberio.

Knowing that Barberio's lethal leg is a game changer, Lessig aggressively played against Barberio. Grabbing Barberio's arm and shoving him, Lessig was given a yellow card for borderline dirty play in the island recreational league.

Firing the ball from close to mid-field, Eason Builders Group's Scott Dean, Associate Director of Athletics at IMG Academy, was ready in front the goal. An injured Dean could not get the ball in the net. Teammate Shea Yates made her attempt, but Beissert denied EBG and prevented the score.

EBG's veteran player Scott Eason sped across the field to stop the run of Bradenton dentist Andre Lewis. Lewis, who took over the longstanding children's dental practice of Leslie Thompson, stepped up this season as one of the league's solid and consistent players and scorers.

Pushing for another offensive opportunity, big man Sean Flynn made a perfect pass to WFC's Clark near the EBG goal. Lessig took over the ball and shot only to find a diving Talucci for the beautiful save.

Keeping the pressure on Talucci, Flynn's corner kick went off the chest of Eason Builders' defender David Greene, again preventing the WFC score.

After two incredible saves by Beissert and 12 minutes left in the first half, Flynn took a hard shot on goal that went just right and high for Team Wash Family.

Relentless defense for both teams, kept the scoring low. Shots were taken, but tough scoring angles and strong goalkeeping made for an action packed season final game.

A handball in the box was called on EBG's Joey Ciasullo, who was injured early in the game. Lessig's bullet shot low and in the left corner could not be stopped by Talucci, advancing the score to 2-0.

The ladies of the game challenged, shot and scored throughout the season. Eason Builders' Yates added a dynamic to the game, while both Caitlin Lemmond and Jenn Sayko for Wash Family Construction had a fantastic season. EBG's Kim Dean, soccer coach at IMG Academy, had her season cut short due to surgery.

Lemmond showed her diversity throughout the season giving her male counterparts a consistent go-to player on the field. Sayko's ability to be at the right place to score game after game was invaluable for WFC.

Eason Builders Group Austin Wash could not make the final game of the season, but cousin Collin Krozek helped to control the ball on defense for EBG.

With less than a minute left to play in the first half of the championship game, Barberio tried to make a final push to score. Lemmond stopped the shot taking the game to halftime.

The second half of play began, leaving 23 minutes until the crowning of the next Hayward Cup champions. Eason Builders Group started the half with a hard shot by Barberio off the back of Lessig.

Determined to score, Yates took a nice shot only to be saved with a high leap by Beissert. Barberio continued the EBG push with a beautiful corner kick, but could not put points on the board for his team.

With more than 10 diving, jumping and leaping saves in the game, Beissert was definitely the unofficial MVP of the game. Shot attempts by Yates, S. Dean, Eason and Barberio were stopped by Beissert one after the other.

A slide tackle, which is illegal in the Island league, by Lessig trying to get the ball away from Barberio was called by the referee and followed by shouts of "red card" by Talucci in the goal. No card was given, but Barberio had his chance to help his team score. Yates' goal attempt went just to the right of the post.

Halfway through the second half of play, Lessig scored his second goal of the game for Wash Family Construction.

Three points behind, Eason Builders Group did not give up. After aggressive play between Barberio and Lewis, including a little extra shove by Barberio, Lewis was given a free kick in close range to the goal. Once again Beissert made the save.

Taking the game to the next level of excitement, Yates passed the goal to S. Dean who moved the ball to Greene. Greene passed the ball to Yates. Yates took the shot, pounding the ball past teammate Barberio and goalie Beissert, scoring EBG's only goal in the game.

Showing great sportsmanship, despite the aggressive play against Lewis, Barberio stopping playing to help Lemmond up after tripping her. Getting back into play, Barberio took anther shot that went right into the hands of Beissert.

In the last two minutes of the game, Wash Family Construction kept Barberio well covered knowing that if he has the ball on his feet and is given any opening to score the championship will be lost. Lessig resumed his position on the field as Barberio's shadow.

With only seconds ticking off the game clock, Lewis took possession of the soccer ball and controlled it down the field with his strong ball handling and footwork. After diverting defenders and doing all of the heavy lifting, Lewis unselfishly passed the ball across the field to Clark. Lewis' pass got Talucci, who had seven saves in the game, diving in the wrong direction allowing Clark to tap the ball in with control and purpose for the team's fourth goal of the game.

The final whistle closed out the championship game, giving Wash Family Construction the win and the Paul "Ace" Hayward Cup with a final score of 4-1.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper