Alumni Day 4: A New Tradition
Congratulations go out to Josh Belfrage (Rush 88/89) and Colin Clark (Rush 83/84) for winning the very first ever Rush Alumni Week Soccer-Tennis Tournament. A select group of 32 alums making up 16 teams participated in the first ever event of its kind. Teams were drawn at random. Four brackets were formed with bracket play determining seeds for the playoff round. To be fair, some quality soccer and tennis were on display on this day. Great team work could be seen on each of the eight courts being used. Pre-tournament favorite, Mike Piserchio, was paired with one of our youngest alumnus, Sid Otto. Otto led the duo through bracket play but it took until the round of 16 before Piserchio figured out that his right foot was stronger than his left and that his chest did not bare the strength it once did, and that he’d be better to head the ball as opposed to chest it over the net. They bowed out in the elite 8.
With the favorites out of the way, several teams became rejuvenated. Passion and flare were on the cards in most matches. Perhaps the most entertainment came from Team Warner/LaGreca. With Collen Warner coming off his first alumni win in over two years, and Billy LaGreca making his first appearance of this Alumni Week, they were full of energy. The handful of onlookers present saw Billy covering ground like a mad man. One second he was sliding to delicately toe a ball just over the net. The next second Billy was tackling Warner, his own partner, in an attempt to win the ball and get it over the net! Questions were raised as to whether or not Bill really understood the point of the game. But for all in attendance, the entertainment value was high.
On the contrary however, were the games played by Alex Fernandez and Nick Cardenas, who though playing the exact number of games as the other teams, played twice as long. We wouldn’t want to classify them as boring…just tiresome. Credit to them though for making the quarters also. Team Sacco/Bushey (Not that Bushey) were decided underdogs when they faced Team Ridge/That Bushey. But it was the young Bushey who would be the victor on this day and earn the right to play in the quarter-finals and eventually the semi-finals. Team Pack Foxiccolo suffered only one loss prior to the semi-finals (to Team Ridge/That Bushey). The dynamic duo was at the top of their game until their power and personality fell to 14 year old Cameron Dyke. The technique and tactics of Team Dyke/Edwinson (Chris Edwinson, Atlas of Mexico, was special guest today) proved too much for the formidable University of Louisville pair and the upstart guests would make it on to the final to face Team Belf/Clark. Referring to young Cameron Dyke (though not the youngest participant on the day as younger sister Cori Dyke, age 12, also participated and won two games on her way to the round of 16), her current coach, Wes Hart, was almost glistening with pride about his young all-star. That is, until he met her on opposite sides of the net and fell prey to her skill!
Team Hart/Rigo crashed out in the semis and neither would provide a post-match quote (at least none could be heard over their tears). So it was left to the two guests on the day, Team Dyke/Edwinson to face off against Team Belf/Clark. With Miss Dyke fresh off of her ECNL event in Las Vegas and Colin Clark fresh off his MLS finals championship run, one might think the scales might be slightly skewed. But this was not the case as the finals was an exciting battle of technique, agility, tactics and passion with both teams refusing to be outdone. In the end, the talented Rush alums prevailed. Perhaps the fact that young Cameron also trained at the Center program in the morning was her undoing. When asked if she regretted the two-a-day training potentially costing her the title, young Cam replied “this would have been a great title won today, no doubt, but I have to be honest…my goals are bigger, so no, I do not regret the extra training today. Tomorrow I shall work harder.” When Clark was asked whether or not he’d trade this title in for the MLS Cup which Houston Dynamo narrowly missed out on as they fell to Todd Dunivant’s LA Galaxy, Clark responded, “is that some kind of joke?” As Belfrage was caught leaving the indoor center with his trophy, he screamed repeatedly, “sorry losers! I’m outta here! Tell VanDoorninck he can….” Editors note: the rest of this quote cannot be written on this website.
The end of the tournament did not represent the end of the competition however. After the event all were invited to Fowler’s Soccer Trivia at Boomer’s Bar. Team Pack Foxicollo, with the stress and disappointment of the previous soccer-tennis failure, sadly broke up. DelPiccolo partnered up with Biggin’ (Cardenas) while Foxhoven sided with Biggin’ II (Hukari). Where Foxhoven found new life with his new team, DelPiccolo sank even lower and rarely, if ever, answered a question correctly. In the end he was so flustered he could not even remember the back line of his AC Milan heros. “Something Maldini I think his name was?” Paolo uttered. Lindsey Lohan, who spent most of the competition in the losers bracket, didn’t answer too many trivia questions either. She was stumped by the picture trivia and couldn’t recognize the picture of her longtime coach, Tim Schulz. Sorry Schulzy…out of site out of mind. For Linds, this is a what have you done for me lately kind of world.
For all winners Rush Nike gear was handed out as the reward. (Sure to be of great value someday as the club grows as a legend in its new adidas gear.) Stay tuned for day 5!!