The HBS Soccer Club sent two teams to down to Yale October 11/12 for the 19th annual Yale MBA invitational soccer tournament. Both squads advanced to the playoff round on Sunday Oct. 12, with the HBS White team capturing the championship. This is the summary of the tournament from the HBS White team.
Despite a last minute schedule change requiring the HBS White team to play earlier on Saturday morning instead of Saturday afternoon, the 16 HBS White team players traveled down to New Haven to begin the group play on Saturday October 11. The HBS team was eager to improve upon last year’s showing, where it lost in the semi-finals. According to team captain Erik Snyder (OC), “It didn’t matter when they scheduled our games, and although some of the RCs were struggling early Saturday morning right after Priscilla, I knew we had a solid squad and I could motivate the players to be on their A game.”
Indeed, in group play on Saturday, the HBS White team began with a 1-0 win over Simon (University of Rochester). Jaime Parker (OA) provided the tally to secure the win, with the defense led by Snyder and Ben Thomas (NA) effectively shutting down the Simon offense. The next group game was against Tepper (CMU), and Adam Flake (OC), no doubt bolstered by the cheers of his parents, was true to form and gave HBS an initial 1-0 lead. However, after a rousing half-time speech by goalkeeper Charles Huang (OJ), imploring the team to finish opportunities in the box after squandering several in the first half, Carles Cros-Segura (OC) took the advice to heart and rocketed an own-goal minutes into the 2nd half to gift Simon a 1-1 tie that was literally the goal of the tournament. However, Paul Wang (dual degree HKS/HBS) would not let Charles’ speech go in vain, as he proceeded to score two scintillating goals in the 2nd half to lift HBS to a 3-1 victory despite poor officiating. With HBS White securing a spot in the playoff round, the team elected to rest several players (including Derek Brown, OA who sufered a freak injury while swinging through an opponent’s foot while trying to get the ball), and yielded a 2-0 loss to Columbia GSB’s A team.
After a tour of scenic downtown New Haven for a team dinner Saturday night, HBS White opened the playoffs with a quarterfinal match against Stern (NYU). Despite solid play throughout the game, HBS could not seemingly find a way to score. The crafty veteran Jaime Parker (OA) would not let the game slip into PKs, and scored late in the 2nd half. Adam Flake (OC) also added an insurance goal in the last minute to ensure the advancement of the team. In the semi-finals, HBS played Columbia GSB’s B team, and throttled them 4-0 behind goals by Paul Wang and Austin “Crazylegs” Vedder (NA) in the first half, coupled with a cracker from Andrew Rosskam (NA) and a long distance effort from Erik Snyder (OC) in the second half.
The final was a rematch against Columbia GSB A team, and the game started off as an LCA case as Columbia GSB wanted to use players from the recently defeated B team to combine efforts against the HBS White team. Team captain Erik Snyder, and assistant coach Derek Brown stuck to their moral guns and cited the tournament rules and declined Columbia’s request. The HBS team dominated the game, with Adam Flake providing the scoring with deft trickery as the Columbia GK was attempting to waste time by faking to pick up the ball and put into play. Flake feigned half-hearted interest, then in a blinding flash turned poked the ball away from the GK and into the net for a 1-0 win. The HBS defense was stellar on Sunday, conceding no goals, with key central defenders BJ Grattan (partner), Ben Thomas (NB), Snyder and Huang shutting down the tricky Columbia A offense in the final match, aided by the capable rotation of defenders Jason Bhartwaj (OA), Garrett Smith (OD), and Will Boland (OA).
Assistant Coach Derek Brown (OA) summed up the weekend nicely – “We played to our level, and felt that we deserved to win. It was a team effort, both RCs and ECs. Suns and guns is the way to go.”