World Wide Players win title

By Lucas Deal

Someone had to lose. As the World Wide Players and Illinois Victory intramural soccer teams stepped onto the field Wednesday night, both knew their perfect 6-0 seasons were on the line.

Victory, the 2003 Champions, were looking for their second straight title, while the Players – four-time semifinalists – hoped to finally take home their first crown.

The teams were facing off in the intramural soccer Men’s Group A Championships.

As fans watched intently from the sidelines, the two teams battled each other kick for kick through a scoreless regulation and into a second overtime shootout.

But when the Victory’s last shot finally careened off the goalpost wide left, it was all over – giving the Players the Group A Title and culminating a great night of intramural soccer.

“We had a complete team,” said Victory goalie Timothy Zorn. “We all played 110 percent.”

Organized by Campus Recreation, the intramural soccer season encompasses much of the fall, complete with a regular and postseason. The league consists of five divisions: Group A Men (very competitive), Group B Men (semi-competitive), Orange Fraternity (small membership), Blue Fraternity (large membership) and Women.

Each team is placed into a five-team round-robin pool, and the pool’s top two teams advance into the postseason. The playoffs are single elimination. Wednesday was the Intramural League Championship.

GROUP A MEN

After finally winning their first title, the World Wide Players couldn’t hide their emotions. Largely assembled in 2000, this team of graduate students had been working toward this goal for several years and, after achieving it, they were thrilled. When asked what the title meant to him, Zorn was nearly speechless.

“Relief for me,” he said. “Just to get it over with.”

Zorn’s teammates agreed, citing this was the best team they ever had.

Victory defender Ahmad Elayat, senior in engineering, was obviously disappointed, but still tried to put a positive spin on the result.

“It’s heartbreaking, but we’ll be back next year,” he said.

GROUP B MEN

In the Group B Championship, Global Crossroads (G.C.) United defeated Illini Runners 1-0. For a team full of guys who just wanted to play soccer, the title game originally seemed somewhat overwhelming.

“We were nervous at the beginning,” said Jaime Guzman, freshman in LAS. “But as soon as I started playing, it was gone,” he said.

ORANGE

FRATERNITIES

“It was a team effort,” said Jon Sander, sophomore in engineering, after his fraternity – Kappa Delta Rho – took home its second straight title 1-0 over Phi Kappa Sigma.

“I heard someone yell that I had space, so I took an extra dribble, and I just pulled the shot,” he said. Sander scored the game’s only goal.

Goalie Brian Palmer, who hadn’t been scored on in more than a year (12 games), agreed with Sander.

“This team is just unbelievable,” he said. “The team has been very consistent and I’m really proud of that.”

Phi Delta Theta, the winner of the Blue Fraternities championship, could not be reached for comment.

WOMEN

In the women’s bracket, Better Half United completed its perfect season with a 3-0 win over Hopkins 2 in the finals. After suffering several devastating defeats in previous seasons, the ladies were pleased.

“It was more rewarding than I thought it would be,” said Whitney Kingsbury, a graduate student in education.

But despite the shutout victory, it was the makeup of this year’s team that led to her satisfaction.

“We threw a mix of people together this year and, by the end, we just kind of gelled,” she said. “You go in with the intent to have a good time. But once you enter the playoffs, the competitive edge comes out.”

“And it’s always nice to get a free T-shirt,” she said.