In the most competitive Turkey Bowl since 2008, the Beta Gamma Patriots defeated the Alpha Theta Razorbacks 1-0.
Razorbacks center back Drew Maynard and the Alpha defense held the game scoreless until late in the second half, when Beta forwards dribbled a pass across the front of the goal, skipping through the Alpha defense to Daniel Sprankle.
“I ran up the side looking for a cross and Eric Dickinson put the cross there,” Sprankle said. “It dribbled through, and I was in the right place at the right time.”
Alpha continued to press the attack with a few solid late corner kicks by winger Aaron Iles, which were stopped by Beta defenders Peter Dickinson and Dillon Doran.
Beta goalkeeper Joseph Wooster hardly touched the ball as Alpha struggled to generate goal shots, save for a few corner kicks. However, Alpha goalie Spencer Pagliuca was kept busy the entire night.
Early in the second half, Pagliuca stopped an initial goal attempt by Beta, but he couldn’t keep a handle on the ball and chased it outside of the 18-foot box. When Beta tried another shot, Pagliuca instinctively batted the ball to the ground, which earned him a yellow card for an intentional handball. He caught the ensuing free kick, however, to keep the scoreless tie.
Alpha defensive back Tommy Colavito helped relieve pressure on the Alpha defense by shutting down Beta forward Caleb Franco throughout the entire game. Franco’s normally dominant presence was barely felt.
“I think we possessed the ball well, and in the end, we were able to put the ball in the back of the goal,” Beta coach Eric Dickinson said. He also credited his team’s diligence to working on crossing the ball to the middle of the field in practice. “We controlled the sides well and kept possession.”
Alpha coach Marc Pagliuca was disappointed with the outcome but kept Alpha’s only loss during the season in perspective. “We were the only team that gave Beta a run for their money, and that’s saying something,” Pagliuca said.
Look for Alpha’s young team to continue to improve, as most of the players are returning next year. Meanwhile, Beta continues its impressive legacy, having dominated intramural soccer for the past five years. Beta now holds the longest Turkey Bowl winning streak in BJU history.