The men’s intramural soccer semifinals took place last Monday evening on Alumni Stadium Field, pitting the Alpha Omega Delta Lions against the Alpha Theta Pi Razorbacks and the Beta Gamma Delta Patriots against the Pi Kappa Sigma Cobras. The Razorbacks and the Patriots came out on top to remain undefeated and advance to the Turkey Bowl.
Omega and Alpha were the first to square off. The Razorbacks took charge from the very beginning as superior conditioning and teamwork lent them the advantage. Senior captain Marc Pagliuca and freshman Drew Hoffmann worked together to continually pressure the Lions’ back line with through balls, and dazzling footwork and precise passing from the Sims brothers, Tommy and Rudy, facilitated scoring chances for the Alpha offense.
“[Omega’s] defense was trying to use an offside trap, and we were able to use that to our advantage,” said Alpha’s Pagliuca.
Alpha’s first shot came five minutes into the game, as junior Tommy Sims put a cross in front of Drew Hoffmann from the corner. Hoffmann gathered the cross and launched a shot, but Omega senior goalkeeper Andrew Martin was there to receive it after a momentary fumble. Seven minutes later, Martin disrupted a near breakaway by Alpha’s Rudy Sims and controlled the header to follow at the goalmouth.
The first goal came 18 minutes into the first half off of the foot of Pagliuca. He took advantage of his exceptional speed to beat the Lion’s defense down the right wing, carry the ball in toward the box, and fire a low shot past a diving Martin.
Alpha’s Tommy Sims struck next for the Razorbacks two minutes later, taking advantage of an ill-advised pass by an Omega defender in front of the Lions’ own goal. He stepped in to intercept the pass halfway between the penalty stripe and the 18-yard line, and then launched a volley in the deep corner to take a 2-0 lead.
The Omega Lions had a chance to score with five minutes remaining in the half, as senior forward Will Keller was led with a through ball straight up the middle toward Alpha’s goal. Razorbacks goalkeeper Spencer Pagliuca met him at the top of the box, however, and knocked the ball away in the ensuing collision.
In the final minute of the first half, Alpha sophomore Joe Carter pounded the third and final goal of the game into the net from the back corner off of a cross. Omega was unable to come up with an answer in the second half, and Alpha advanced to the final round by a score of 3-0.
The match between the Patriots and the Cobras followed, resulting in a golden-goal overtime victory for Beta Gamma.
Beta earned the first close call, as a Beta striker took the ball downfield, beat the defense, and found himself one-on-one with Pi Kappa goalie Josh Allamon. Allamon took a few steps out of goal and made an impressive diving block, and the game would remain tied 0-0 through the first half.
The second half started at Beta’s pace, as senior Caleb Franco, freshman Nathan Ennis and senior Will Jana kept the pressure on the Cobra defense. Fifteen minutes into the half, Beta senior Eric Dickinson scored to put the Patriots up 1-0.
Beta continued to launch shots, but the Cobras caught a break as freshmen Daniel Santos and Jonathan Abrams made their way downfield. Santos kept the play alive by chasing the ball down, fighting off a Beta defender, and passing off to Abrams. Abrams fired a shot into a Beta defender’s hand, resulting in a penalty kick. Abrams took the kick and scored a clutch goal to tie the score 1-1 with nine minutes left in regulation. Those nine minutes would go scoreless, and the game entered golden-goal overtime.
Both teams fired a couple of shots early in overtime that went high above the goal, but four minutes in, Beta’s Will Edwards shot a rocket into the back of the Cobras’ net to give Beta the 2-1 victory.
Alpha and Beta will face off at 7 p.m. tomorrow evening following the preliminary Turkey Bowl activities, which begin at 6:30 p.m.