The HBS Soccer Club looked to continue its successful run from last fall into the spring this past month as it journeyed to Austin, TX for the annual Texas MBA Soccer Classic, the largest MBA tournament in the country. Although the teams narrowly missed advancing to the knockout stage, they will look to build on several strong results as they gear up for their spring season.
The Soccer Club, which last won the tournament in 2005, itself has over 150 members and caters to all levels and forms of interest in soccer [football]. In addition to a number of on-campus tournaments and games, as well as a robust social calendar which includes everything from Champions League viewing parties to whisky tasting events, the club fields two competitive nationally recognized squads each year. This year the club sent a first year RC team and a second year EC team to the prestigious 24-team tournament.
Both the EC and RC teams expected to do well after their excellent form in the fall. In the fall graduate school league, the EC team rode some stellar late season performances, including a wonder-strike by Jim “Big Poppa” McQuade (OD) to dispose of local rival Suffolk Law and make the playoffs. They ended up placing an unlucky third in the 13 team league behind Tufts Med and Suffolk Law. The RC team also enjoyed great success in the fall where they advanced to the quarterfinals of the Yale Cup, aided by some highlight reel moments from Evgeny Koudryavtsev (NH), before falling to a rugged Columbia team.
The EC team started off strong against traditional nemesis Columbia, looking to avenge a loss to them in the Yale Cup last fall. One man wrecking crew Dave Krasik (OD) opened the tournament in stunning fashion with an arcing half-volley goal from near midfield replica breitling. Krasik’s stunner was followed up by goals from colorful strikers Frederic “Wizard” Genta (OF) and “The Partybus” Brandon Graves (OG) for a resounding 3 – 0 win. In the next game, the team faced tournament hosts Texas. After an early close call from Graves on a potential foul in the box, team ironman Dave Shear opened the scoring with a header finish off a deft cross from midfield partner Federico Messi-Alvarez-Demelde (OE). Graves hit the score sheet later, creating the next goal by feeding Genta for another well placed finish. The take-no-prisoners defense, led by Bobby Schmidt (OB), Frank Cesar (OA) and Josh Solera (OE) in goal, maintained its shutout en route to a 2 – 0 victory. Ed Foy (OD) and Katy Andersen (OB) provided much needed defensive support, particularly after outside back Fred Nellemann (OH) was unable to make the trip.
The win set up a showdown with also undefeated Stanford GSB in the final game. A couple early first half goals by Stanford put HBS in a hole to start the second half. While the number 10, Co-Captain Aldi Haryopratomo (OG) worked tirelessly in the midfield to make up for the loss of dynamic winger Ryan Ashley (OE) to a knee injury earlier in the day, Stanford’s defense held firm. Steady contributions by Scott Fruhan (OH) and the replica watches Legendary Giovanni Ducati (OA) were not quite enough to overcome the two goal margin. The game, which does not count towards US News and World Reports MBA program rankings, ended 2 -0 Stanford. As Co-Captain Haryopratomo explained, “We moved the ball well, scored goals and had fun. It was unfortunate that despite the wins we just narrowly missed advancing to the knockout stage.”
Playing across the park, the RC team was looking to this tournament to assert themselves as a national business school powerhouse team and get past its quarterfinal loss at the Yale Cup. On the bench, all-star player Anthony “Domenech” Lallier (NH) took on the role of head coach after being ruled out due to injury. The team started off on the right foot after Tom “Tractor” Dye (NB) pressured the goalkeeper and put HBS 1-0 ahead of the skilled Duke team. After an unfortunate tying goal from Duke, Brandon “Lethal Weapon” Levy (NB) pressured the goalie once again and gave the lead back to the RC team late into the 2nd half. It seemed like a promising start to the tournament until the referee decided to overlook a flagrant foul on goalkeeper Adam “Spider” Burgh (OC) on the last play of the game which resulted in the 2-2 tie for Duke.
The tie motivated the team going into the second match against USC. The team looked sharp as the midfield trio Juan “Ax” Franck (NI), Andy “Golden Boy” Shore (NA), and Steve “Ironman” Burn-Murdoch (ND) took control of the prisedwatch game and started to knit some beautiful passes together. However, HBS could not convert their superiority into goals, and, with play clearly resembling the Barcelona-Inter 2010 Champions League semifinal, lost 1-0 to USC after a goal given away on a counterattack.
Even with several men down due to injury and a bleak outlook on qualifying for the second round, the RC team decided to put the loss behind them and finish the tournament off strong. What followed was a 3-2 victory over Texas, with the highlight of the match being a beautiful combination play between Michael “Enforcer” Braimah (NH) and Andy Shore resulting in a goal from the latter replica watches uk. Although the second place finish in the group did not put the RC team through to the next round, defensive stalwarts Jeremy Doutte (NC) and Juan Fernandez (NC) agreed that the team walked away from the tournament with their heads held high and with a solid base on which to seek glory for HBS in the coming tournaments.
The strong performances on the field were matched only by the group’s impressive performance at the Salt Lick, Austin’s renowned mecca for all-you-can-eat bbq. Players also got to take in [quite] a bit of Austin’s fine nightlife downtown on 6th street before leaving.
While neither squad took home silverware, the tournament results were more than encouraging as both teams look ahead to their spring league season and the Dartmouth MBA World Cup in late April. As defensive midfielder and Co-Captain Gil Addo (OD) quoted himself as saying, “We were a bit unlucky that neither team was able to place despite their roster strength. Injuries and fatigue obviously played a major role. Nevertheless we got some great results which we will build upon as we move into our spring schedule. Beyond that, we took a great group to Austin who continued the proud tradition of HBS Soccer.”
Juan Fernandez (NC) is an RC Co-Coordinator for the HBS Soccer Club. Originally from Argentina, he has been an avid player and fan of the game for as long as he can remember.
Gil Addo (OD) is a Co-Captain, along with Aldi Haryopratomo (OG) of the HBS Soccer Club. Originally from Connecticut, Gil has been playing soccer at varying levels since he was 5.