Madison United's President's Cup wrapped up Sunday night at Keva Sports Center in Middleton, with two first-time champions among the four title-winning sides at the 21st annual adult indoor tournament.
Valley Magic, a team made up primarily of former UW-Green Bay players and a regular at the President's Cup for most of the past decade, won its first Women's Open championship, topping host Madison United 3-2 in the final.
At the same time on the other field at Keva, the Milwaukee Bavarians cruised past the Forest City Kickers 6-2 to capture their first Men's Over-38 title in their second President's Cup appearance. Included in the Bavarians' run was a semifinal victory over FC Gherkin, which had won five of the past six titles.
Keeper Goals, which features several Bavarian SC players, held off the Madison Fire 2-1 to collect their fifth Men's Over-30 championship – they joined Forest City as the only teams to win five titles in the division. The Fire ousted two-time defending champion FC Tipsy in the semifinals.
And the Croatian Eagles returned to the top in Men's Open play, with their first team beating the Bavarians 4-0 in an all-Milwaukee-area final. They had to beat their club's second team to get to the final, doing so on a goal with 1 second left in the semifinals, then went on to win their fourth title – matching the Madison Fire's record total of Men's Open championships.
Pool scoring format: Win – 6 points. Tie – 3 points. Goals – 1 point, maximum of 3 per game.
After not being out of action for the better part of 18 months, Cody Banks (Madison Memorial/UW-Milwaukee) finally was able to return to the field last month.
Sunday night, he scored a pair of late goals to seal the Croatian Eagles' 4-0 victory over Milwaukee-area rival Bavarian SC in the President's Cup final.
"Maybe like a month ago I started back up – trying to get ready for this," said Banks, who has been plagued by an ankle injury suffered during his senior season at UW-Milwaukee in the fall of 2012. "That's a lot of games in one day. I feel pretty sore.
"I'm having another ankle surgery in a few months. So I'm just kind of playing on it – if it gets hurt, it doesn't really matter too much because it's getting fixed anyways."
Banks' brace in the final 6 minutes added to goals by Mike Narciso and Ross Van Osdol (UW-Milwaukee) and backed a clean sheet by 39-year-old goalkeeper Ante Cop as the Croatians claimed their fourth title following victories in 2006, '07 and '09.
"We haven't won this tournament in a few years, so it's kind of nice to get back and take this tournament," Croatians manager Alex Toth said. "Here, it's always who can stand up at the end, who doesn't have players hurt. We were lucky – we didn't have any major injuries and we started clicking."
The final had a different look than most matches at the tournament: The teams played 4-on-4 for the majority of the 25-minute game after Croatians' Andrew Wiedabach (Mequon Homestead/UW-Milwaukee) and Bavarians' David Peplinski (Milwaukee Marquette) were both red carded for violent conduct following a skirmish 4 minutes in.
"It's kind of like a chess game – when they have the ball, they're trying to break you down, then they'd lose it and we'd go at them," Toth said of adjusting to the 4-on-4 play. "Whoever was going to get that first goal was probably going to win the game."
That ended up being Narciso.
The veteran defender, who played at Providence, ripped a shot that Bavarians keeper Matt Schmidt got his hands on but couldn't stop with 2:40 left in the first half. Van Osdol doubled the lead just less than 3 minutes after halftime on a left-footed strike.
"Once we got the first goal, I felt confident," Toth said. "Once the second goal went in, I knew it was over."
Banks made sure of that. With 6 minutes to go, Scott Raymonds (Brookfield East/UW-Green Bay) carried the ball in on the right side and played in a cross that Banks first-timed past Schmidt. Then with 3:30 remaining, Banks picked up the ball just over the midfield stripe and, with Schmidt off his line, chipped a shot into the open goal to close out the scoring.
"I saw him out and I figured I might as well shoot it," said Banks, whose only other appearance at the President's Cup was back in 2009 after he completed his prep career and before he headed to UW-Milwaukee. "I wanted to get the shot off before he got back in the goal. Happy it went in.
"It was just nice to be back in Madison, playing in front of all these people that I know."
Both finalists were coming off memorable semifinal matches.
The Croatians squared off against their club's other team in the field, Croatian Eagles 2, who knocked off four-time champion Madison Fire in the first round of the playoffs.
The second team scored with 1:36 left to tie it at 1 and overtime seemingly beckoned, but Raymonds blasted a shot from the right side into the top left corner just before the final horn to give Croatian Eagles 1 a stunning 2-1 victory.
"That was crazy. I didn't coach that game – I sat and watched. I didn't want to choose sides. I love all those guys," Toth said. "That was a great game. That second squad, those guys worked their butts off the whole time. ... It was a good showing for us."
On the other field, meanwhile, the Bavarians gave up two goals in the opening 3 minutes against The Dinos before coming all the way back.
Brett Dietz converted a penalty kick after a Dinos handball to pull the 2003 champions within 2-1 at halftime, and goals by Dietz and Vladimir Trevic after the break put the Milwaukee side in front.
But with 1:52 left, the Bavarians were whistled for a handball in the box. Chris Prince (UW), who had a tremendous weekend in his President's Cup debut, stepped to the spot to try to tie it, but Schmidt made the save to preserve the 3-2 victory.
Sunday's playoff results
Final group standings
|8:30 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Madison Fire||6||Velociraptors||0|
|9 a.m.||BreakAway 1||The Dinos||3||Madison Fire Juniors||1|
|9:30 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Madison United Tigers||1||Galloping Ghosts||2|
|9:30 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Paradigm FC||1||Hamms Premium||0|
|10 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Cosmos FC||1||Oshkosh Gold||0|
|10 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Racine||2||Sleeping Giant FC||1|
|10:30 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Dehydrated United||5||Wings Red||2|
|10:30 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Croatian Eagles 1||3||UWO Alumni||0|
|11 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Wings Black||1||Carleton||7|
|11 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Croatian Eagles 2||7||UD Alumni||0|
|11:30 a.m.||BreakAway 1||La Resistance||1||Red Dogs||3|
|11:30 a.m.||BreakAway 2||SNC Alumni||1||Fox in the Box||6|
|Noon||BreakAway 1||Fire SC||2||Red Rock||2|
|12:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||QC Iowa||3||Team Northwoods||1|
|12:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Madison United Lions||2||FC Magic||3|
|1 p.m.||Keva 1||Cosmos FC||3||Paradigm FC||2|
|1 p.m.||Keva 2||Sleeping Giant FC||2||Galloping Ghosts||1|
|1:30 p.m.||Keva 1||Hamms Premium||4||Oshkosh Gold||1|
|1:30 p.m.||Keva 2||Croatian Eagles 1||7||Wings Black||3|
|2 p.m.||Keva 1||The Dinos||5||Dehydrated United||2|
|2 p.m.||Keva 2||Madison United Tigers||4||Racine||2|
|2:30 p.m.||Keva 1||Madison Fire Juniors||4||Wings Red||0|
|2:30 p.m.||Keva 2||UWO Alumni||3||Carleton||0|
|3 p.m.||Keva 1||Madison Fire||2||Bavarians||2|
|3 p.m.||Keva 2||Croatian Eagles 2||3||La Resistance||2|
|3:30 p.m.||Keva 1||Loras||4||Velociraptors||2|
|3:30 p.m.||Keva 2||UD Alumni||1||Red Dogs||10|
|4 p.m.||Keva 1||SNC Alumni||0||Fire SC||6|
|4 p.m.||Keva 2||Madison United Lions||2||QC Iowa||3|
|4:30 p.m.||Keva 1||Red Rock||2||Fox in the Box||4|
|4:30 p.m.||Keva 2||FC Magic||2||Team Northwoods||1|
|8 a.m.||BreakAway 1||SNC Alumni||3||Red Rock||3|
|8 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Fire SC||2||Fox in the Box||3|
|8:30 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Madison United Lions||2||Team Northwoods||2|
|8:30 a.m.||BreakAway 2||QC Iowa||3||FC Magic||3|
|9 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Croatian Eagles 2||2||Red Dogs||2|
|9 a.m.||BreakAway 2||La Resistance||6||UD Alumni||3|
|9:30 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Croatian Eagles 1||2||Carleton||0|
|9:30 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Wings Black||2||UWO Alumni||7|
|10 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Madison Fire||4||Loras||1|
|10 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Bavarians||6||Velociraptors||2|
|10:30 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Madison United Tigers||5||Sleeping Giant FC||1|
|10:30 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Racine||2||Galloping Ghosts||5|
|11 a.m.||BreakAway 1||The Dinos||6||Wings Red||3|
|11 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Dehydrated United||1||Madison Fire Juniors||3|
|11:30 a.m.||Keva 1||Cosmos FC||3||Hamms Premium||0|
|11:30 a.m.||Keva 2||Paradigm FC||7||Oshkosh Gold||4|
Valley Magic has been a regular at the President's Cup for most the past decade. And the team of primarily former UW-Green Bay players has been competitive, advancing to the semifinals twice and the quarterfinals six times in the past eight years.
But something was different this year for the team, which comes together just this one weekend each year.
"Most of us played together at Green Bay, so we've played together for probably the last decade," said manager Dixie Schubert (Wisconsin Rapids). "It's the only time we get together to play anymore, so it usually takes a couple warm-up games. But we actually clicked well this year, which I think was the difference from years past."
That, and several crucial goals from Sarah Oligney-Heitmeier (Wisconsin Rapids).
Oligney-Heitmeier scored the tying and winning goals in a 1:07 span in the game's final 6 minutes as Valley Magic got past host Madison United 3-2 in the final to win their first title.
Looking back, the biggest result of the weekend for Valley Magic might have come Saturday afternoon. They held off Megna Financial 2-1 in Hillary Pool play, a win that allowed them to be one of the top four seeds and avoid the wild card round.
"The way the brackets shook out, that ended up being probably a really big game," Schubert said of the win over Megna Financial, which won the 2012 title and lost in the final last year. "To not have that wild card game and then how the wild cards shook out and took out some big names. It kind of opened up the field."
Valley Magic took the lead with 2:55 left in the first half through Emily Davis, who worked around two defenders on the left side and scored the opener.
Madison United answered 45 seconds before the break, as Mary Casey brought the ball down the middle then dished off to Lola Awoyinka on the left side. The United manager slotted her slot past the diving Valley Magic keeper to make it 1-1 at halftime.
The home side, seeking its second championship and first since 2002, went ahead on Brittany Nanzing's goal with 8:25 remaining. But United, playing its fifth match of the day after having to go through the wild card round, couldn't hold the slim lead.
Oligney-Heitmeier ripped a shot from the left side to tie it just more than 3 minutes later, then scored her second straight game-winner with 4:13 to play – her goal with 26 seconds left gave Valley Magic a 2-1 semifinal win over FC Barrington, the team which ousted them in the quarterfinals in 2007 and again in the semifinals a year later.
Sunday's playoff results
Final group standings
|9:30 a.m.||Keva 1||UWW Alumni||1||Antique Tap||0|
|9:30 a.m.||Keva 2||Madison United||2||UWO Alumni||2|
|10 a.m.||Keva 1||Duhawks Alumni||1||Peanut Gallery||5|
|10 a.m.||Keva 2||Velocity||0||Megna Financial||8|
|11 a.m.||Keva 1||Evolution||0||Badgerland Supply||4|
|11 a.m.||Keva 2||Duhawks||2||Kicking and Screaming||3|
|11:30 a.m.||Keva 1||Oshkosh Black||2||Valley Magic||7|
|11:30 a.m.||Keva 2||FC Barrington||7||Oshkosh Gold||0|
|Noon||Keva 1||Ten||10||OGT Strikers||0|
|Noon||Keva 2||99 Problems||3||UW-Eau Claire||3|
|12:30 p.m.||Keva 1||WSC Majors United||4||Old P'Cocks||1|
|12:30 p.m.||Keva 2||Team Box Fan||5||UW-La Crosse||1|
|3 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Oshkosh Gold||1||Antique Tap||3|
|3 p.m.||BreakAway 2||FC Barrington||3||UWW Alumni||5|
|3:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Badgerland Supply||2||Duhawks||0|
|3:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Kicking and Screaming||3||Evolution||3|
|4 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Megna Financial||1||Valley Magic||2|
|4 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Velocity||3||Oshkosh Black||1|
|4:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||99 Problems||0||Ten||5|
|4:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||OGT Strikers||0||UW-Eau Claire||1|
|5 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Peanut Gallery||3||Old P'Cocks||2|
|5 p.m.||BreakAway 2||WSC Majors United||3||Duhawks Alumni||4|
|5:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Madison United||3||Team Box Fan||2|
|5:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||UWO Alumni||2||UW-La Crosse||1|
|8 a.m.||Keva 1||Team Box Fan||1||UWO Alumni||1|
|8 a.m.||Keva 2||Evolution||1||Duhawks||4|
|8:30 a.m.||Keva 1||UW-Eau Claire||3||Ten||5|
|8:30 a.m.||Keva 2||99 Problems||6||OGT Strikers||1|
|9 a.m.||Keva 1||Old P'Cocks||6||Duhawks Alumni||4|
|9 a.m.||Keva 2||Peanut Gallery||2||WSC Majors United||5|
|9:30 a.m.||Keva 1||Antique Tap||0||FC Barrington||3|
|9:30 a.m.||Keva 2||UWW Alumni||5||Oshkosh Gold||2|
|10 a.m.||Keva 1||Valley Magic||5||Velocity||2|
|10 a.m.||Keva 2||Oshkosh Black||1||Megna Financial||4|
|10:30 a.m.||Keva 1||Badgerland Supply||2||Kicking and Screaming||2|
|10:30 a.m.||Keva 2||UW-La Crosse||2||Madison United||8|
For the fifth time, Keeper Goals won the Men's Over-30 title. But this was the first championship in this division for every member of the winning team.
"I turn 35 in a couple months and I thought, 'Is this the year we make the jump?' " said player-manager Mark Turner (UW-Milwaukee), who added that most of the team's players have played in the Presidents Cup for the past six or seven years. "We realized that maybe Men's Open is a little too rigorous, and this obviously made sense for us to play in Over-30."
Turner and Mike Robards (Marquette) scored in a 2:17 span in the second half, and Keeper Goals fended off a late charge to beat the Madison Fire 2-1 in the final.
The Fire, whose roster included several players who had helped the club win Men's Open titles in 2011 and '12, knocked off two-time defending champion FC Tipsy 3-0 in the semifinals of a very competitive bracket.
"The amazing thing about this tournament is when you get to the last six or eight teams, everybody's good," Turner said. "We knew (the Fire) were going to be a strong side. If we played those guys 10 times, they'd win five and we'd win five, to be fair."
Tighe Dombrowski (West Allis Hale/UW-Milwaukee) set up Turner's opener just less than 5 minutes into the second half. The former pro had the ball in the right corner, banked it off the boards and watched Turner flick it in with 7:50 remaining.
Keeper Goals, which outscored foes 21-5 in winning all six of its weekend matches, thought it had doubled its advantage with 6:02 to play. During a scramble in front of the Fire goal, they argued that the ball had crossed the goal line, but the referee didn't see it that way. Thirty-five seconds later, though, they did get their second.
A free kick was played in from the right side that the Fire keeper came out and tried to punch away. Keeper Goals' Ryan Morrissey went up and challenged for the ball, which eventually fell to Robards, who finished first-time into the vacated net.
Keeper Goals' two goals matched the total number of goals allowed in the tournament by the Fire, who had shut out four of their previous five opponents. The Madison side pulled their keeper for a sixth attacker with about 3:30 remaining.
"That sixth attacker really kind of threw us off, because we weren't sure how to play that," said Turner, whose roster included UW-Milwaukee assistant Kyle Zenoni (Hartland Arrowhead/UW-Milwaukee) – cleared by tournament officials to play Sunday's games on his 30th birthday – and 38-year-old Jake Provan (Cudahy/UW-Milwaukee).
The Fire managed to pull a goal back, as Abraham Bull (UW) ripped a shot from a tight angle in the right corner that Abdel Baji redirected into the net with 2:12 to go, but despite a flurry in the final 20 seconds they couldn't find an equalizer.
"We started out pretty bad," Fire player-manager Khalid "Johnny" Zafari said. "The semifinal took a lot out of us – we played awesome there, and we just didn't play well in the final. ... At the end, we had a few chances, but by that time it was too late.
"We weren't really clicking, that didn't help. but you've got to give them credit – they played well, they played smart and they finished their chances when they had them."
It was the second championship in an hour for Provan, who earlier won the Over-38 title with the Bavarians. The former Milwaukee Rampage and Milwaukee Wave forward played in 10 of a possible 11 games on the weekend, including seven games on Sunday.
"I told my one back who I was subbing with (in the Over-30 game), 'Hey, stay on as long as you can, I'll come on when you need me,' " Provan said. "So I did a little bit shorter shifts."
Zenoni, meanwhile, went on to play in the Men's Open final for the Bavarians, but couldn't match his teammate's double titles.
Sunday's playoff results
Final group standings
|8 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Pro Roofing||0||Chivas||5|
|8 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Madison United||1||Smoky's Blue Rockets||1|
|8:30 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Madison Fire||3||Vilas Rangers||0|
|9 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Milwaukee Brewers FC||2||Smoky's Red Rockets||5|
|1 p.m.||BreakAway 1||FC Tipsy||3||Bottoms Academy||1|
|1 p.m.||BreakAway 2||St. Charles Celtics||1||Rock Vegas||5|
|1:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Mota FC||0||Keeper Goals||6|
|1:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Beer FC||5||Internationals||0|
|5 p.m.||Keva 1||Chivas||1||Bottoms Academy||3|
|5 p.m.||Keva 2||Milwaukee Brewers FC||2||St. Charles Celtics||7|
|5:30 p.m.||Keva 1||Pro Roofing||1||FC Tipsy||6|
|5:30 p.m.||Keva 2||Smoky's Red Rockets||1||Rock Vegas||2|
|6 p.m.||Keva 1||Smoky's Blue Rockets||7||Mota FC||1|
|6 p.m.||Keva 2||Madison United||2||Keeper Goals||6|
|6:30 p.m.||Keva 1||Madison Fire||4||Beer FC||2|
|6:30 p.m.||Keva 2||Vilas Rangers||7||Internationals||3|
|11:30 a.m.||BreakAway 1||Smoky's Blue Rockets||0||Keeper Goals||1|
|11:30 a.m.||BreakAway 2||Mota FC||1||Madison United||1|
|Noon||BreakAway 1||Milwaukee Brewers FC||2||Rock Vegas||6|
|Noon||BreakAway 2||Smoky's Red Rockets||3||St. Charles Celtics||2|
|1:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Pro Roofing||1||Bottoms Academy||6|
|1:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Chivas||0||FC Tipsy||5|
|2 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Madison Fire||5||Internationals||0|
|2 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Vilas Rangers||1||Beer FC||1|
Last year, the Milwaukee Bavarians entered the Men's Over-38 competition for the first time.
And at first glance, you would have thought they were one of the better sides in the 12-team field – they started the tournament by routing the Diablos, a team that ended up playing in the final. But a tie and a loss in their final two group matches meant that the Bavarians headed home Sunday afternoon, having missed out on the playoffs.
Back again with essentially the same team, the Bavarians got off to a strong start again this year – and kept it going all weekend.
The Forest City Kickers took an early lead, but Scott Kreitmeir (Brookfield Central/UW-Milwaukee) scored twice as the Bavarians rattled off five straight goals en route to a 6-2 victory over the Illinois club in the final.
"I don't know if it was over-confidence or what," Bavarians player-manager Tom Zaiss (Whitefish Bay) said about the team's 2013 appearance. "It's a little bit smaller fields than we're used to in Milwaukee; you have to play differently than you do at Uihlein (Soccer Park) or Brookfield (Indoor Soccer Complex). So there's a little learning curve."
Scott Schwebel (Racine Horlick/UW-Milwaukee), Steve Grimm (Brown Deer/UW-Milwaukee) and Jimmy Klopp (Whitefish Bay Dominican/UW-Milwaukee) also scored in the final for the Bavarians, who won all five of their games and outscored foes 27-6 in the tournament.
"Winning never gets old, at any age," the 45-year-old Zaiss said. "It just doesn't."
Forest City took the lead 2:25 in, but Schwebel pulled the Milwaukee side level 55 seconds later. Kreitmeir gave the Bavarians the lead for good with 3:30 left in the first half, ripping a shot from the right side into the top corner on the left side. Grimm finished off a pass from Zaiss at the back door as the lead grew to 3-1 at halftime.
The Bavarians added three more goals in the second half and keeper Mark Litton – the goalkeeper coach for the Milwaukee Wave, the U.S. Futsal national team and the UW-Milwaukee men's program – gave up just one more goal, that with 1:11 to play and his team already ahead 5-1.
The title gave the 49-year-old Litton a unique President's Cup hat trick: He previously was part of a Keeper Goals team that won the Men's Over-30 title – playing as a field player, no less – and also coached the Milwaukee Wave Reserves to the Men's Open title in 2010.
Like the Bavarians, the Kickers won all three of their group games and collected the maximum 27 points. But, because of the luck of the draw, they had to play an extra match in the playoffs – two of the three division winners automatically advanced to the semifinals, while the schedule called for the Eisenhower Pool winner to play a wild-card game.
FC Gherkin, which had won the division five of the previous six years, lost to Bares United in Sunday afternoon's Bush Pool finale. They got past the Albanian Eagles 2-1 in a wild-card match but were ousted from the playoffs with a 4-0 loss to the Bavarians in the semifinals.
Sunday's playoff results
Final group standings
|9 a.m.||Keva 1||Albanian Eagles||4||Hooligans||0|
|9 a.m.||Keva 2||Diablos||2||Bares United||2|
|10:30 a.m.||Keva 1||Forest City Kickers||10||Phoenix FC||2|
|10:30 a.m.||Keva 2||Celtics||1||FC Gherkin||7|
|2 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Bavarians||6||Euro FC||2|
|2 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Madison United||5||St. Charles Celtics||2|
|2:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Bares United||2||Celtics||0|
|2:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Diablos||1||FC Gherkin||7|
|6 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Albanian Eagles||1||Forest City Kickers||3|
|6 p.m.||BreakAway 2||St. Charles Celtics||1||Milwaukee Bavarians||7|
|6:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Madison United||0||Euro FC||4|
|6:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Hooligans||2||Phoenix FC||1|
|11 a.m.||Keva 1||St. Charles Celtics||2||Euro FC||3|
|11 a.m.||Keva 2||Madison United||1||Milwaukee Bavarians||4|
|12:30 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Albanian Eagles||7||Phoenix FC||1|
|12:30 p.m.||BreakAway 2||Hooligans||2||Forest City Kickers||3|
|1 p.m.||BreakAway 1||Diablos||9||Celtics||2|
|1 p.m.||BreakAway 2||FC Gherkin||0||Bares United||2|