The SDU Crew boys played in Overland Park at the ALDI Heartland Invitational for Boys event! This was the first tourney action of the year for the U17 boys and they played in the top flight of this event, U17 Blue. The first match of the tourney set the tone for this event and unfortunately it wasn’t a good one in many ways. In the first half after some great midfield play and combination play up front the boys combined for the only goal of the game with striker Breckin M finishing a far post low 90 shot! Going into half time the boys had all of the momentum against their opponent, RRVU 02/03 boys from Fargo. Early in the 2nd half though things took a dramatic turn for the worse as keeper Michael F was taken out by a clumsy and vicious hit by the RRVU striker. Both players were going for the ball but SDU keeper Michael F was hit in the head/face at full speed by the RRVU striker resulting in a serious concussion and broken nose for our keeper. Michael after several minutes on the field was lifted off the field and taken to the hospital. Striker Baht K had to step in and play keeper for the remainder of the match which really changed up what the SDU boys wanted to do. After holding on and playing solid defense for the remaining 30 min of the match the boys came out with a 1-0 win.
Heading into the 2nd match the boys were matched up against PFC Southhampton Pro Academy 02 from Overland Park. The boys unfortunately came out on the bad side of a 0-2 loss but showed signs of what was to come the next day of the tourney. The PFC boys were a very well organized team and they took advantage of mistakes in the midfield resulting in confusion on the defensive side and the ball in the back of the net.
In the 3rd match the boys were matched up against NFC Red 02 from Omaha, NE. The NFC boys went up early 2-0 on Crew due to some defensive and keeper miscues. But, the SDU Crew boys showed their heart and came roaring back to tie up the game 2-2. NFC went up again 3-2 late in the 2nd half but the Crew boys again tied it up with less than 2 min to go in the match, again showing their passion! The game ended up a 3-3 tie.
Heading into the final match of the 5 team round robin the SDU boys needed a solid win to at least finish up 2nd in the tourney. Again though, the boys were dealt a tough blow as midfielder Kale D was hurt with a bad ankle sprain and midfielder Zac M was hurting with an achilles tendon issue. Also, striker Noah S had to leave for a tryout in Florida so he was unavailable for the match. This left the boys with only 10 healthy players to play and two injured. Midfielder Kale D taped up his ankle and hopped into goal allowing for striker Baht K to get out into the field and play. Zac M subbed in when needed to give guys a break but was limited with his achilles. With everything against them the boys still went up 1-0 in the match against TRS U17b from Sioux City. Just before half time TRS U17 tied the game 1-1. At halftime Zac M changed out with Kale in net allowing Kale to try to do what he could on the field, which proved to be the game changer. In a back and forth game the SDU Crew boys finally went up a goal 2-1. This game a punch of energy to a very tired group of boys and they dropped in one more to make it 3-1 over the previously unbeaten TRS boys. The bigger deal for the SDU was that TRS had not let in a goal all tourney and the Crew boys dropped 3 in on them showing how much heart and passion they had!
Coach Chris D said it was one of the “guttiest performances” he had ever seen! Coach Chris continued, ” the SDU Crew boys for years have had struggles and things go against them. They have had a coach, in myself, who has been hard on them trying to bring out that heart and determination. I couldn’t be more proud of this group and quite honestly regardless of what they do the rest of the year, this game will be something I look back on with more pride than I can put into words!”
Great job men on a well played weekend and well deserved 2nd place finish!