With three full days of power soccer already in the books, we’ve seen everything we had hoped for and so much more. We’ve had last second game-tying and game-winning goals, blowouts and tight matches, huge shots and amazing saves, alongside titles for conference champions in Founders and Presidents! The only things we did not have yet were champions in the top conferences, Champions and Premier.
Champions action kicked off the final morning with two quarterfinal matchups. The top two teams from the group stage, BORP Crushers and Ball State Cardinals, got a bye into the semis. The Northeast Passage Wildcats faced off against another one of their northeastern rivals, the PRHC Chariots for the chance to face Ball State. The Wildcats took the lead on an Anthony Jennings goal in the left corner of the net. The Chariots’ attack, frustrated at first by the Wildcat defense, began to put pressure on Tony Jackson in net and eventually were able to tie it up. From there they had all the momentum and put away the winning goal with under a minute to go. In their semifinal matchup, they fell to Ball State on a similarly late goal by #13 Dustin Gilmer.
On the other side of the bracket, Lakeshore Power and BORP Crushers stood in DASA MO Rush’s way for a Ball State rematch from the group stage. Facing Lakeshore’s tough defense in the first round, DASA was able to stay strong, score just enough, and take a 1-0 win. Against BORP, they continued their excellent defense and attacked when necessary. #22 Tyler King got the first one right down the middle of the goal shortly after a free kick under five minutes in. King would score again just two minutes later on another free kick. BORP would score later on, but King’s two goals would get them the rematch they were hoping for.
At first it seemed like it would be an even match between DASA and Ball State in the Champions final, but Lexi Heer took control quickly. She scored the first one in just the second minute into the left corner. The Cardinals kept the pressure on and then made a second one look easy. Heer knocked a perfect corner across to Gilmer who pushed it right back to the left corner to put them up 2-0 in the first half. And so, after just their first year in conference play, the Ball State Cardinals are Champions Conference champions and will move all the way up to Premier next year!
For the final day in Premier, a full 8-team bracket was on the schedule. All four quarterfinal games were won by four goals each with the Turnstone Flyers, RHI Sudden Impact, CNY United, and Circle City Rollers advancing. Three of the four were won by the higher seed while CNY upset Minnesota Magic. The Magic seemed poised for a title run as they featured the weekend’s top goal scorer in Riley Johnson (who had an absurd 20 goals in seven games) and second year Magic player, Lindsay Muench, but it will have to wait until 2019.
Moving onto the semis we’d find one more upset and it couldn’t have been bigger. Any game the Circle City Rollers lose is a shocking one as they’ve won the national championship seven times in the past 11 years. Turnstone gave them a loss at the end of the group stage, but they seemed like they had bounced back in the quarterfinals. That was apparently not the case when they came out flat against the RHI Sudden Impact. RHI piled on the goals to win 5-1 and advance to the finals. At first it looked like they would face off against CNY United after they surprisingly went up 2-0 against the Turnstone Flyers. There were only five minutes left in the second half when Turnstone turned it on, scored two goals (both scored by Danil Vorndran and assisted by Luke Labas), put it into overtime, and scored at the end of the first overtime period to win it.
The final was truly what everyone was waiting for. Everyone gathered around Court 1 for the match featuring hometown squad, Turnstone Flyers, and Indianapolis based RHI Sudden Impact. Turnstone, possibly playing off the crowd’s energy, has been the loudest and most excited team out of all 35 here. Their excitement, alongside their superb play made them thrilling to watch. Starting the match, the Flyers came out strong. They drove the ball down the court into Sudden Impact territory and kept it there for most of the first half. The pressure resulted in several scoring chances but they just couldn’t put it away.
Unfortunately for the Flyers, the Sudden Impact turned it on at the end of the first period. With Jordan Dickey coming out of the goal and providing extra support on the attacking end, they put together a fancy but extremely successful free kick play between the three Dickey siblings: Jordan free kick to Katie, spin kick to Jordan, pass to Zack at the corner of the goal for a score. RHI went into the half 1-0 and came out of it just as strong. Zack put his second goal of the game away early on in the second half on a more conventional corner kick play.
With plenty of time left on the clock, the Flyers gained new life scoring back to back goals to tie it up. Both were scored by David Dowling, first on a long, hard drive up the court and second on a corner kick. Dowling would later be named Premier Conference MVP for his excellent work throughout the tournament, but it wouldn’t be enough to lift a different trophy. That honor would go to Zack Dickey and the Sudden Impact as he scored again at the end of the second half to win the match and complete his hat-trick.
The RHI Sudden Impact took home the Premier Conference title 2018 in what looks to be the final year for the three Dickey siblings together. Needless to say they went out on a high note as they go separate ways in their athletics and in their careers!!
Athletes Roll wants to thank US Power Soccer for an amazing event, all of the athletes for putting everything you had out on the court, and the Turnstone Center for hosting in a truly remarkable venue (more to come on that soon!). We also wanted to thank everyone who stopped by out booth! We had so much fun talking with you all about your teams and the players you were cheering on. The emotion and excitement you all portrayed to us is exactly why we got into adaptive sports and exactly what we hope to convey when we introduce new people to power soccer and other adaptive sports. We had an amazing time these last few days and hope you all did as well! And one last time congratulations to our four national champions, San Jose Flash, Arizona Heat, Ball State Cardinals, and RHI Sudden Impact!!!
Full photo albums at facebook.com/athletesroll. Watch all of the livestreamed games here.