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Sloan Downs PSK for A-League Soccer Title

By Bo Light
Team Member

The Sloan A intramural soccer team successfully defended its A-league soccer championship last week with a 30 victory over Phi Sigma Kappa in the finals of the league playoffs.

Phi Sigma Kappa, runners-up in the B-league championships last year, played admirably but were bridesmaids once again as Sloan, a perennial A-league powerhouse, dominated the game with excellent passing and ball-control skills.

Sloan, the number one seed, advanced easily through the tournament, beating Alpha Tau Omega 10 in the semifinals on a late goal by team captain Axel Nielsen G. Meanwhile, the 11th-seeded PSK team, with a 24 record, concluded an improbable run to the finals with a 10 victory over Sigma Alpha Epsilon in double overtime.

The winning goal was scored by Punn Puapong '97, just minutes before the game was to go to a shootout. PSK advanced to the finals hoping to avenge a 20 loss to Sloan earlier in the season.

In the championship game, Sloan controlled the offense from the very start, and its patience and persistence paid off early, as Faustino Alvarez G scored on a header off a crossing pass from Pedro Assael G in the ninth minute of the game.

After the goal, Phi Sigma Kappa came scrambling back, with strong attacks and physical play, but despite some impressive individual efforts, most of their passes seemed to be directed to no one, and often led to Sloan counterattacks.

One of these counterattacks led to Sloan's second goal, at the 20-minute mark, as Taka Nakagawa G placed a long shot in the far upper corner of the goal. The first half ended with Sloan leading, 20.

The PSK team went all-out in the second half, in an attempt to close the gap, and looked for a while as if they might take control of the game. However, the Sloan defense handled every attack, and the Phi Sigs, undermanned due to injuries, eventually tired, and Sloan began counterattacking again.

The third goal came in the 45th minute, when Nielsen took the ball on a run across the mouth of the goal, and shot into the far corner, past the diving PSK goalkeeper. Phi Sig continued to attack for the rest of the game, but to no avail, and Sloan celebrated another championship.

PSK captain Matt McLeod '95 was proud of his team despite the loss. "We made a great run through the playoffs, and our finals loss doesn't diminish that," McLeod said. "It's difficult to play a team of that quality, as battered as we were" with only 12 players able to play, he said.

Nielsen, the Sloan captain, said that his team's toughest game was the one against ATO. "But [this] was a good game," Nielsen was quick to add. "Excellent referees," he said, referring to the quality of officiating that is sometimes absent in intramural contests.