Van Horn Field started the night of Nov. 2 as somewhat green with a whole lot of mud. By the end of the night that green had disappeared.
The intramural soccer finals were a competitive affair that had less-than-ideal conditions. The air had a nice, cool crisp to it; on the contrary, the field had an unfortunate squish. White shirts became brown and mud caked cleats. But the teams pushed on.
The first matchup of the night, in the co-rec league, pitted Zete Chi-O against Make Soccer American Again. Right as the game kicked off, second-year student Gregory Curtan from Zete Chi-O, a “coach” of sorts, set the mindset for the game.
“It’s for blood,” he said.
After a lot of sliding around and many missed shots, the first 20 minute half ended at 0-0.
On the Make Soccer American Again team, third-year student Colin Sonnefeld mentioned that he “[wished] we were playing on turf.” This sentiment was echoed by nearly every player.
Shortly into the second half Make Soccer American Again took a 1-0 lead courtesy of fourth-year star player Nate Robinson. About a minute later he netted another one, putting his team up 2-0. Zete Chi-O did not roll over, however, and second-year student Peter Durand trimmed the lead. Make Soccer American Again ended up with the 3-1 win though, with Sonnefeld scoring a late goal.
Robinson, who dominated most of the game, said afterwards that he was “pretty happy [with the game]. The mud worked to our advantage.”
“The game was heart-wrenching [but] fun,” said Curtan on behalf of Zete Chi-O.
The next contest featured two squads from the Greek league. Annual intramural soccer powerhouse Delta Tau Delta (Delt) faced off against Phi Kappa Psi (Phi Psi). Delt started off strong, opening up a 3-0 lead with goals by fourth-year student Zaid Al Bahrani, third-year student and fraternity president Andrew Levite and second-year student Alex West.
Phi Psi struggled to adapt to the field in the first few minutes. A perfect example of this occurred when first-year student Reece Eldridge subbed into the game. Eldridge was not wearing cleats and proceeded to lose his balance multiple times. He soon subbed back out.
“[The] field is not ideal. There is a lot more mud than grass,” he stated before the game.
Phi Psi made a comeback once they got their bearings. Fourth-year student Jay Mulye scored. Then first-year student and fraternity pledge Will Huffmyer scored. And Mulye kicked an incredible ball from beyond the center line that sailed over the goalkeeper’s head and into the net. The goal tied the game.
“[Mulye’s goal] was beautiful the way it arced through the air,” said Eldridge.
That was about the end of the success for Phi Psi. Delt scored four goals in the second half to win 7-3. Second-year student Casey Intrator had the first one and first-year student Anish Singhal had goals five and six.
“It feels pretty good to be a part of the fraternity that has reigned supreme in Greek intramural soccer for three years in a row and more to come,” said first-year student and pledge Ketan Jolly who was not on the team but expressed support for his fraternity.
The final matchup featured Not Your Team and Let’s Get Messi. Third-year player Jacob Phillips from Let’s Get Messi made the purpose clear before the game.
“We’re only here for the potential acquisition of t-shirts,” he said.
Unfortunately, those t-shirts would go to Not Your Team. Third-year student Harith Palmer led the scoring off, followed by fellow third-year student Tyler Kohrt and then fourth-year student Justin Wang with two goals to bring the score to 4-0. Palmer and Wang stood out on the field—literally. Both are above six foot three inches tall.
“Give it to the tall guys,” exclaimed third-year student David Miller.
Let’s Get Messi tried to get back into the game with two goals by West, the same West that played for Delt. Not Your Team went up 5-2 with another goal by Palmer, but Let’s Get Messi trimmed the lead by one with a goal from Phillips.
Jacob Wise, a third-year student on Not Your Team, attributed the team’s success to getting to know each other better.
He said, “We’ve really built up a chemistry since the group stage.”
Palmer ended up with a hat trick, extending the lead to 6-3. Let’s Get Messi made a comeback effort with a goal from Intrator, but that wouldn’t be enough.
The story of the night was undoubtedly the field. It was a cause of a lot frustration but also many laughs. Perhaps most amusing was watching the goalkeepers. On both sides of the field there were large puddles that they either had to work around or dive into. However, all the goalies did a tremendous job given their situation.
Regardless, all the teams seemed to enjoy another season of intramural soccer. Some went home ecstatic with t-shirts while others blamed the mud for their loss. And all immediately did laundry as soon as they could.