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  • Writer's pictureTatiana Chen

Boys Futsal - EABH v. Saint Paul’s: The Lion’s Empty Den?

April 4th

It is without a doubt that the EABH Hawks have been unmotivated throughout the futsal games this season, particularly due to their losses. All of the Hawks understood that things were rough for the futsal boys, who had been on an unfortunate losing streak so far. In the competition for 7th place, the EABH Hawks faced Saint Paul’s Lions on April 6, 2:00 p.m. Coach Cláudio has been demonstrating his frustration with the boys and girls not qualifying for nationals on and off the court. Though not explicitly stating that he was feeling upset at the performance of all futsal players this season, he had implied emotions felt by all. The seniors having to play their last game for one of the last places has definitely left some down; however, they definitely did not break tradition, something that is valued at NR.

Kickstarting the game, João Lima (3) nearly scored immediately right after Eduardo Calixto (7) had tried to do so as well. What was different about this match, however, was that the opposing team, the Lions, was intimidating usually, until they showed up to the court with a sole reserve player. The players knew that all of those they were going against were far younger than the majority of the Hawks’ players, giving them a big advantage. Despite that weakness, their defense performed well and utilized the single-benched player to continuously rotate players and keep the energy going. Even with a surprisingly good defense as seen in the first few seconds of the game, Massimiliano Vicintin (22) caught an attempted goal with his hands and set the ball right in front of him before strongly kicking straight to the other side of the court. From there, the Hawks scored their first point on the Lions in the game which wowed the entire crowd, even those who have been rooting against the Hawks this season.

The Lions did not have a goalkeeper to help protect the goal, which is why the defense was being played so fiercely. The closest thing the team had to a keeper was the only senior who is participating in ISSL season 2 from St. Paul’s: a player who had been going in and out of rotation, likely to conserve energy. Once aware that the Hawks could score from across the court, all the players had a go at it and continuously whammed the ball toward the Lions’ goal. This never stopped the Lions from trying to score; however, that never really happened, since Massi saved the team each time the ball came his way with a dive or a tackle. What the Hawks noticed and were quite puzzled about was that all the players were participating in each role and position that the opposing team had. When the Lions thought there was a foul, which ended up not being true, the coach called for a time-out to try to get the team back in the game. Pedro Jorge (2) had gone in constantly attempting to score and the Lions had been doing the same. Dudu soon got the spotlight on him when he stole the ball from a Lion in his own side and dribbled it across the court. After missing, he yelled out of frustration, leaving the crowd amazed at the emotion. Nothing, however, got in his way, and he scored from right next to the goal. The Hawks ended the first half with a leading score of 2-0. Even with the lowest amount of energy, the audience continued to cheer for the boys to encourage them to do just as well in the second half. 

The second portion of the game remained the same in terms of strategy for the Lions: they rotated to conserve energy and focused even amounts of their time on offensive and defensive plays. Being this the last Hawks futsal game of the season, Tiago Loures (5) and Mathieu Lesage (14) (or Mafu) were brought in along with Luiz Gomes (9) (or Lockz). All of their presences were clear with Mafu dribbling and swerving around and Lockz scoring an effortless goal on the Lions’ empty den. Tiago is known to have an interesting amount of energy conserved in him which comes out whenever he plays sports; said energy has allowed him to run back and forth on the court ready to dribble or steal at any time. Mafu almost scored a goal until a Lion interfered with the back of his foot. 

Lockz scored his second goal of the match assisted by Mafu, who faked a penalty kick played by Tiago. When two athletes interfered, the Hawks were called for a foul, which gave the Lions a penalty near the goal. With the consistency and good energy the Hawks were playing off of, the Lions did not even have a chance at scoring, regardless of the distance. As the game went on, Tiago gave the happy crowd a good laugh when he nearly tripped on the ball when nobody was guarding him and exclaimed a funny sound. To let him brush it off and continue playing as well as they were, the crowd cheered in encouragement for the entire team---and encouraged they were. Ted scored a goal from across the court even when the keeper was finally subbed, showing how strong the Hawks’ performances were. A common misconception at ISSL is that EABH is a school that has weak players in boys’ soccer and futsal; however, this stereotype comes from disconsidering that the school is small and does not have as large a pool to pick athletes from when compared to bigger schools. 

At this point in the game, the Lions called for a timeout, allowing Coach Cláudio to express his pride but also remind the boys to use the plays and strategies they had practiced. Bernardo Temporão (6) went far too strong in the defense in an attempt to preserve this sole victory for the futsal boys; this excess resulted in an unfortunate collision with the youngest player on the opposing team. He got benched with an ice pack for the rest of the game, but his spirit surely was not resting. Both were on good terms and congratulated each other at the end of the match.

Once on the court again, Coach Cláudio allowed the senior boys to play for the rest of the time. Eduardo Bonato (21) was now keeper and he made his final game at ISSL a memorable one. He instantly saved the team from being scored on and the crowd went wild at the sight. Ted dribbled the ball towards their own goal, tricking the Lions into following him. He instantly kicked toward the players who were closer to the area to try to score a final goal. Once the ball was back on the Hawks’ side, there were three full attempts on Bonato, hitting him on nearly every part of his body. Nonetheless, nothing could stop the streak as he was able to valiantly get up and defend the goal again and again.

The final whistle blew and the Hawks had won against the Lions with all seniors on the court, a final homage to their futsal careers for EABH, which spans years. To Cauã Magalhães (10), Edward Mason (8), Eduardo Calixto (7), João Lima (3), and Eduardo Bonato (21), the Hawks demonstrate their never-ending pride and gratitude for their hard work and persistence, despite the hardships that have come their way. Once a Hawk, always a Hawk!

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