There’s an adage in sports that says when all else is equal, talent prevails.
And that is exactly what happened in the Borderland men’s soccer final last night as tagg’s simply was the more talented team in a 4-2 triumph over AAA.
“They have a good bunch of athletes, we have a good bunch of athletes. They just have a couple more than we do,” AAA striker Jason Kabel said after the game.
“We’ve seen a lot of good teams over the years but this is probably the best,” said tagg’s midfielder Paul Danku, who estimated he’d been with the team (initially named Esso and then Witherspoon’s) for about 15 years.
The match started out quickly, with each team having a cheerleader. AAA halfback Paul Redford, who was not eligible to play in the final, rallied his teammates from the sidelines while tagg’s keeper Greg “Moose” Wiedenhoeft inspired his troops from the goal crease.
Shortly after tagg’s midfielder Gord Keesic opened the scoring, striker Mike Webb directed a shot off the inside of his right leg past keeper Bill Daley to give his team a 2-0 lead.
Then midway through the first half, striker Olaf Ruppenstein corralled a rebound off the post from teammate Jered Lessman, dribbled around defender Mike Andrusco, and put a soft touch passed Daley to make it 3-0.
That’s when tagg’s seemed to let up on their relentless attack. And it was just the chance AAA needed.
Kabel, fresh off a yellow card for an over-zealous shoulder, drilled a shot that deflected off tagg’s defender Jorge Ruppenstein and into the net to close the gap to 3-1.
Then midfielder Benji Andrusco drilled a shot from 90 feet out that handcuffed the big tagg’s keeper and rolled in off his hands. That made it 3-2 and the momentum clearly had shifted.
With time running down in the half, Kabel put a header off the crossbar on a corner kick from teammate Steve Keesic.
At the break, tagg’s midfielder Paul Danku sat with his teammates in a circle and imparted some words of wisdom. They seemed to work.
Just minutes into the second half, Olaf Ruppenstein blazed down the right side and made beautiful cross to Gord Keesic, who had an open net to make it 4-2.
“The only way it wasn’t going in was if it hit me or it went over the net,” Daley said at the time.
Ruppenstein hit the post later in the half, and Webb missed an open net with the keeper out of position, but it was Wiedenhoeft who made several saves in the game to preserve the win.
The final originally had been scheduled for Aug. 15 but it had to be postponed due to a thunderstorm.