Edit: Thanks to “Shot Shanker” for giving the update on the goals on either side of halftime. If anyone wants to fill me in on that or any other detail I might have left out… feel free to leave a comment or contact me any other way.
On the warmest 40 degree morning you will ever experience, the Alumni and Academy soccer teams faced off for the eighth time in four years. It was not as easy as one might have expected giving the Alumni owned a 6-1 record against the current Academy team. Keeping true to Academy form, the 11:00 scheduled game time promptly started at 11:30 after some roster and starting position difficulties.
The game was only a matter of minutes old, when the Academy would get the first strike. Following an Alumni turnover on the opening possession, Academy calmly moved the ball down the field into attacking territory when Sami Abdisubhan fed the ball to Maksim Goryunov who brought it up on the near-side flank loosely marked. Max would eventually cross the ball into the box bypassing most defenders towards the far corner of the 6-yard box where it was essentially a one-on-on between alum Frank Levering and current Junior Daniel Hillman. The younger one would have his moment as a well timed leap and connecting on a header over Frank’s head inside the near-side post would put the current Academy squad up 1-0.
The lead would not last very long as only a few moments later, Kevin Scala and Chuck Andrejcisk would get the Alumni moving in the right direction. It would be a well timed pass from the former that beat two defenders and allowed to Chuck to take a couple of uncontested touches before drilling the ball in the back of the net to even up the score at 1.
Kevin would tack on another one a few moments after typing it up at one as the Alumni started to build some momentum. The half would end with the score 2-1 in favor of the Alumni as possession was evenly divided between the two squads with a couple of corners a piece on both sides.
A more resilient Alumni side took the field in the second half determined to the put the game away quickly and they showed it as they dominated ball possession and really controlled the tempo. About 10 minutes into the half, Alumni would strike again to build a 3-1 lead as Kevin received a pass from about 30-35 out and dribbled it to the top of the box before releasing a rocket passed the arms of Academy goalie into the side netting. 2 goals and an assist on a very productive day by the youngest Scala to be an Academy alum.
Half way through the second half, Anish Abuwala got into the mix of things as finally a penalty shot was called in favor of the Alumni following several close tackles inside the box. Anish would make no mistake on the shot as the ball just beat the outstretched feet of the goalkeeper who had incorrectly guessed leaning towards his left to score the final tally for the Alumni to make the score 4-1.
Four unanswered goals by the Alumni really put the game away that even careless goalkeeping would not allow the Academy back into the game. Following a goalkeeping punt that would go a mere 10 yards and a muffed pass backwards by two different keepers, the weak second half goalkeeping would come full circle as Shaban Hani tried to make a comeback for the Academy side as he dribbled into the box near side and would beat the keeper on a low, weak shot and momentarily brought life back into the game at 4-2.
Moments later, both Sami and Alyssa Milanese would attack again after picking up a turnover at midfield and moved the ball relatively easily down the near side. With Sami in the box alone, he had a strong shot but straight at the keeper which was knocked back out to a contested Alyssa who instead of shooting the ball, passed it back to an offsides-Sami and essentially ending the last threat the Academy team would put on the Alumni as the game would eventually finish at 4-2.
A closely contested game would end up being decided on a more disciplined (albeit out of shape) Alumni team which did well to employ the offsides trap on a couple of Academy strikers and using short passes in the middle of the field which allowed them to control possession for a vast majority of the second half. The Alumni had plenty more scoring opportunities but failed to capitalize on them and definitely allowed Academy to stay in the game much, much longer than they had anticipated.