This past weekend, the ISP Varsity boys traveled to Bucharest to compete in their annual CEESA Soccer tournament against the other schools in the CEESA region. The first day began with poor weather and even worse field conditions. The fields were not only wet but muddy as well. This presented itself as a challenge to the boys as they began the day by playing the first game against Budapest, a team whom the previous year they tied 1-1. This year the boys were determined to come out of the game with more points scored, and that’s exactly what they did. They defeated Budapest 3-0 with two goals coming from penalties scored by Santeri Kuivalainen and another by Chris Brewer. While the boys were victorious in the outcome of the game they soon realized that a change of clothes would have been useful afterwards as their physical style of playing lead to some of the boys taking an early bath outside. However, bad weather and wet clothes weren’t going to stop the boys as they were determined to keep their hot streak going. Their next game was against the International School of Bucharest, a local school not be confused with the American International School of Bucharest. This game was no different from the first when it came to the conditions of the field. Instead of playing on grass, the field was more of a mud pit with various pools located all around the pitch. Another challenge for the boys and another chance to prove the no obstacle is too big. The boys played a strong game defeating ISB 5-0, three of those goals coming from Jore Fripon and one each from Santeri Kuivalainen and Chris Brewer. The boys were thankful to hear the next day would be played on an AstroTurf field that would not consist of mud.
The second day brought on more optimism from the boys as they faced off against the home team, AIS Bucharest. Both teams up to this point were undefeated and hoping to grab the top spot at the top of their pool. The first remained scoreless leading up to halftime with just two minutes left. Most teams would try to run the clock out and get to half time, but the boys were determined to set the tone for the second half. The boys managed to score a free kick right before the half came to an end, credit for the goal going to Chris Brewer. The second half brought on the same challenges as the first half but the boys were prepared this time. ISP scored two more times to make the score 3-0, beating the home team the Vampires, credit for the goals goes to Jore Fripon and George Mazzotti. This win meant several things for the boys at this point in the tournament. They had won all 3 matches in the group stages, had scored twelve goals and allowed zero goals, had the number one seed heading into the knockout stages, and were going up against a determined Moscow team – who, at that point, were hoping to get another unexpected win in the knockout round after having done so the previous year. The boys were determined to keep Moscow from scoring. They not only kept them from scoring but also only gave up one corner during the entire match. At halftime the match was still tied 0-0 but the boys weren’t planning on losing this game. With ten minutes left on the clock, ISP set off on an incredible run and Chris Brewer managed to get through the Moscow defense and scored an amazing goal that gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead with only eight minutes left to go in the game. The boys played terrific defense and kept Moscow from scoring in the final minutes in order to move on the semi finals against Kiev, another game in which they were determined to win.
The third day brought much optimism from the team as they were preparing to face Kiev in a game that would decide which team would play in the finals. The game began with ISP having possession of the ball for most of the first half. In the final minutes before halftime, Santeri Kuivalainen scored a fantastic goal that slipped right through the keeper’s hands, giving ISP a 1-0 lead heading into halftime. The second half, however, didn’t go ISP’s way as an unfortunate drive by Kiev with several mistakes missed by the officials lead to them scoring, tying the game at 1-1. The game ended with a tie and eventually went into a penalty shootout where, despite the efforts of all the ISP players, Kiev came out winning the game in penalties by one. The loss was demoralizing for the team and while many were frustrated about the outcome of the game, the team realized they had to focus on their next game against Bucharest. This would be the deciding game for who comes third and fourth. The team rallied behind each other to play their best and finish strong. The game started off with a bang as ISP scored in a matter of minutes, made by George Mazzotti. Before the end of the first half, ISP scored two more goals to make the score 3-0 in their favor, both scored by Chris Brewer. One of which was an amazing curve shot from a free kick. The final half was very one sided as ISP controlled the ball for most of the time and managed to score another goal making it 4-0 in their favor, scored by Santeri Kuivalainen. The match ended with ISP winning it 4-0 over Bucharest.
The boys scored an astonishing seventeen goals in the entire tournament while only allowing one goal overall. This was another successful year for the Falcons and coaches Shaw and Sweeney are very happy with how the team performed overall. Both Jore Fripon and Santeri Kuivalainen earned a spot on the 2016 CEESA Varsity Boys All-Star team and the team ended up with 3rd place overall.
Game 1: ISP 3 – 0 Budapest
Game 2: ISP 5 – 0 IS Bucharest
Game 3: ISP 3 – 0 AIS Bucharest
Game 4: ISP 1 – 0 Moscow
Game 5: ISP 1 – 1 Kiev (5 – 6 penalties)
Game 6: ISP 4 – 0 AIS Bucharest
Chris Brewer – 6 goals
Jore Fripon – 5 goals
Santeri Kuivalainen – 5 goals
George Mazzotti – 1 goal
© Owen Seymour – The Falcon Post, 2017