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December 10, 2010 > Gladiators triumph in December Classic

Gladiators triumph in December Classic

Submitted by Gladiators coach Sean Hernandez
Photo courtesy of T. Rayburn

Throughout a two-day span - Saturday, Dec. 4, and Sunday, Dec. 5 - the Fremont Gladiators, an under-12 Division 4 girls recreational soccer team, performed with a spirited effort and came away as the winner of the NVYSL December Soccer Classic Tournament.

This tournament hosted some of top recreation teams from the South Bay, Salinas and Monterey. The Gladiators won preliminary games over Milpitas, San Jose and Monterey by scoring nine goals, while not allowing any.

In the finals on Sunday, the Gladiators faced the Salinas Stingrays, who entered the title game without a loss. With a mid-afternoon start time, Mother Nature would not wait. Ten minutes into the game the wind and rain decided to participate for the remainder of the match. With seven minutes left, the field soaked, parents and players soaked and the score still tied 0-0, the head referee approached both coaches to tell them that there would be no overtime. If the game was tie at the end of the regulation, it would immediately go to "the mark" for penalty kicks to decide the champion.

After what seemed to be only a couple of minutes, the referee blew his whistle, and it was time for penalties. At an age where making three out of five shots would normally secure a victory, both teams made four out of five. With neither team wanting to give up what they battled so hard for the previous 50 minutes - not to mention the three preliminary matches - they were now into sudden death PKs.

The No. 6 shooter from both teams would not be denied. With rain and wind still swirling and darkness setting in, the No. 7 shooter for Salinas could not get the ball by the Gladiator keeper. The Gladiators would not let the opportunity pass them by. It was a shot that beat the Stingray keeper, into the right side of the net that would send the Gladiators home with the first-place hardware.

Congratulations to the Stingrays for a hard-fought battle and to the champion Gladiators- Hayley A, Maria C., Jessica F, Ariana H, Kiran H, Lizzie H, Saaniya K, Abby M, Arianna N, Pavani R. Alexa R, Netra R, Jocelyn R, Megann S, Jessica S, Shurti S, Kate T, Chelsea T.

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