The Harvard Business School Soccer team traveled to the land of PinkBerry, In-N-Out Burgers, Snoop Dogg and Sheldon Wong (OC) in what was the team’s first appearance in the annual UCLA MBA Cup. For the second time this year, the team has had to relocate its practice, this time from the streets of Cambridge to Court 3 in Shad.
“The grass at UCLA surprisingly plays very differently than the basketball courts at Shad. I was also surprised at how much sunnier it was in LA versus Shad,” said goalkeeper Charles Huang (NJ) through a translator.
Despite not having its full team, HBS continued its solid play, reaching the final four of the sixteen team tournament.
Without star sweeper, Kevin Yttre (OD) (who’s wife, Andrea, just gave birth to a baby girl, Isabelle), the Crimson realigned their defense with Erik Snyder (NC) and Gale Clark (OE) holding the down the fort defensively in the middle with the Section C lineage of Jon Bunt (OC) and Carles Cros Segura (NC) playing marking backs and consistently shutting down opposing forwards. Clark controlled the majority of balls in the air and scored a magnificent goal from 18 yards out against UCLA, setting the tone early. European sensation, Miguel Vodrazka de Miranda (OH), was also not able to trip after he suffered an injury while playing a physical game of squash.
The team finished second in group play with stellar goals by Jay “Rain Man is Back” Davis (OC) combined with dazzling footwork of the youngest member of the team, Adam Flake (NC) in the middle. Flake, having just received his driver’s permit, was able to get some quality time behind the wheel of the cadre of Dodge mini-van cruising down Sunset Boulevard with Co-Captain Steven Whittingham (OC) sitting shotgun and directing the young player. Private Ali Palmer (OG), was originally not scheduled to play, but made a surprise appearance after being flown to Los Angeles for a final round interview. Private Palmer did not disappoint with outstanding play on the left side of the field which carried over the dance floor at Republic in Hollywood, where he was able to get his swerve on to the beats of T-Pain, T.I. and Timbaland. Forward pressure from Bernardo Novick (NH), Marco Mahrus (OI) and Ernest Kwarteng (OE) helped yield five goals in three games. Midfield play was key to the team’s success as Eduardo Clave (NG) and Gregg Gulinson (NC) provided a spark during key moments.
The team advanced to the final day of the tournament and beat UCLA Law in a quarterfinal shootout (with goals from Davis, Private Palmer, Wong & Flake). The tournament represented a homecoming for Wong who was battling flu-like symptoms and a horde of adoring teenage fans (who recognized the former child actor) the entire weekend. In addition to the appearance of Wong, Hadi Moussa’s (OH) hair and Bryan Batista’s (OH) dazzling speed were a treat for all who paid the steep entrance fee to see the games.
The team unfortunately lost (1-0) to eventual champion, Kellogg, in a hard fought semi-final match, but all was not lost as Meredith Messer (OC) threw the team a party later that evening at her Beverly Hills spread. The team is currently still undefeated in league play and will play KSG in the league finals after Thanksgiving.