Balls-to-the-wall futbol fun

Seven different teams came out to participate in the five-on-five soccer tournament, held on Sunday in the Piano Row Gymnasium.,The fields may be too cold for soccer in February, but Emerson brought the heat to the world’s most popular sport on Sunday in an intramural tournament hosted by the Athletics Department.

Seven different teams came out to participate in the five-on-five soccer tournament, held on Sunday in the Piano Row Gymnasium. Emerson volleyball Head Coach Craig LeTourneau, who organized the event, said his only goal was to make sure everyone involved had fun.

“Everyone is here to have a good time,” LeTourneau said. “It’s not too intense. We want competition, but the winners don’t get a parade and $1,000. They’re here for the pride.”

A group of Emerson undergraduates calling themselves Team Sagar (named for captain Will Sagar) won the championship, 3-2, over the Big Dogs, a team of seven Berklee students. Senior Joel Schwartz scored three goals in less than two minutes to seal the win for Team Sagar.

With the gymnasium shaped much differently than a soccer field, players were forced to adapt to the tricky confines. Fans watching the action from the seats often took balls to the face, and players consistently found themselves digging into a corner or crevice during the games. At one point, a folding table in the corner of the gym was unceremoniously thrown aside as athletes struggled to put the ball back in play.

Despite the differences from a normal soccer game, players said they enjoyed the experience overall.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Kayleigh Boyle, a senior marketing communication major. “There aren’t a lot of opportunities to play if you’re not on a team. Especially when you can’t commit [to a team]. This was a nice thing.”

Unfortunately, the gymnasium wasn’t the only thing taking a beating during the tournament. Much of the action was aggressive, and many players found themselves hitting the floor on a few different occasions.

Sandro Morales, who played for the Big Dogs, nearly collided with a metal bar in the gymnasium stands during the final match. After the game, he said the tournament could have benefited from a few added safety measures.

“There must be a ref,” the junior film scoring major said. “We’re killing ourselves out there. Other than that, everything was nice.”

Schwartz also mentioned that while he was happy with his team’s victory, more safety precautions might be necessary for future events.

“It was kind of intense,” the senior marketing communication major said. “Emerson should consider buying helmets or something for us next time.”

The seven teams were split into two divisions, with each squad playing the others in its bracket once during the preliminary rounds. The top two teams in each division advanced to the semifinals.

Games were played for 12 minutes each, with the playoff rounds shortened to 10 minutes. Each team was required to have one female on the playing field at all times.

Because of the success of the day, Emerson’s athletics department plans to host more tournaments in the future. On Sunday, LeTourneau will be overseeing intramural dodgeball in the gym, and hopes to follow in April with volleyball and basketball tournaments.

Although some of the top teams for the day featured players from the Emerson varsity soccer teams, not everyone had previous competitive experience. One team, Floor Burn, did not win a game, but said the tournament offered them the opportunity to have a good time.

“We’re out of shape, so it’s fun to run around for a while,” said Joe Duquette, a graduate student in visual media arts. “But we came out here to have fun, and we did have fun.”