Murky fields aren't much clearer in final weekend
The final act of the 2015 DODDS-Europe boys soccer regular season had plenty of surprise plot twists.
A defending champion faltered, a large-school showdown fizzled into a blowout and a string of small-school hopefuls suffered shutout losses on the last day of play before the European tournament opens May 18 at the Kaiserslautern Military Community.
Ramstein 1, SHAPE 1: Saturday at Ramstein, the Spartans salved their recent struggles with a deadlock against the reigning Division I champions.
Ramstein took the early advantage as LaDarius Bell scored on an assist by Antonio Oduber. SHAPE had the response after halftime when Alexandros Tzikas found the net off an assist by Kristjan Lozar.
The Royals will enter their title defense a vulnerable champion, having gone winless over the final two weekends of the regular season. That includes a May 2 loss to Patch and Saturday's tie game.
Kaiserslautern 9, Wiesbaden 1: Friday at Wiesbaden, the rampaging Raiders blasted the overmatched home team.
Alexander Dexter scored three goals for Kaiserslautern, while Austin James and Sean Dunbar had two apiece. Goals by Ryan Rimmler and Joseph Olszewski rounded out the scoring. Dexter, James and Dunbar also had one assist apiece.
The Raiders will ride a four-game winning streak into the tournament. Their last loss came against Ramstein on April 2.
The loss vaporized the late-season momentum Wiesbaden had spent two weeks developing. The Warriors beat Division I foes SHAPE and Vilseck before running into the Kaiserslautern buzzsaw.
Patch 5, Black Forest Academy 0: Saturday at Kandern, Germany, the Panthers pawed at the host Falcons in a lopsided romp.
Dan Bacskai scored two goals and Matt Christenson, Micah Williams and Zac Simanski joined him in the scoring column.
The win was a nice encore to the signature Panther victory of the prior weekend, a 2-1 defeat of defending champion Ramstein. Only a loss to Naples sullies the Panthers' record entering the Division I tournament.
Despite the loss, BFA remains a top contender in the revamped Division II bracket. The Falcons went 3-0 against divisional rivals in the regular season.
International School of Brussels 5, AFNORTH 0: Friday at Brussels, the only unbeaten team in Division I looked sharp in its last regular season run.
Five different Raiders scored in the blowout. Ryota Nakamura led the way with a goal and an assist.
Only a season-opening scoreless tie with defending champion Ramstein prevented ISB from running the regular season table. The Raiders have yielded one or zero goals in their last five matches.
Naples 3, Sigonella 0: Saturday at Sigonella, three second-half goals gave the WIldcats a win.
Davide Di Costanzo, Matteo Alessandro Pugliese and Ivan Altamira had a goal apiece for Naples. Di Costanzo, Miguel De Frutos and Marcello Esposti passed out an assist each.
Sigonella goalkeeper Winston Sappenfield made 15 saves, including 10 in the first half.
Naples will carry a four-game winning streak into its first foray through the Division I bracket. Sigonella's winless regular season shouldn't dissuade the Jaguars; they overcame the same to win last year's Division III championship.
Alconbury 3, Menwith Hill 1: Saturday at Menwith Hill, the visiting Dragons spoiled the final home match in Mustang history.
Nathan Dallaire scored two goals and Alconbury broke a 1-1 scoreless tie to earn the win. The victory not only gave it final bragging rights over closing Menwith Hill but also dinged the confidence of a Mustang team that has had the look of a Division III contender at times this spring.
Val Evans scored the last home-field goal in Menwith Hill history. Ben Dixon made 12 saves in goal for the Mustangs.
Baumholder 6, Brussels 4: Saturday at Baumholder, a flurry of second half goals ended in a Bucs victory.
A relatively innocuous first half saw each team score a single goal. The second half, in comparison, was a maelstrom, as Baumholder launched repeated attacks at the Brussels goal and the Brigands made good on a string of penalty kicks to stay within range.
Christian Gonzalez was a constant threat for Baumholder, scoring three times and assisting on the other three goals. Kofi Adutwum deposited two of those scores.
Tim Wilkinson scored twice to pace Brussels. Both teams are poised for a run at the Division III title, currently held by Sigonella.
Hohenfels 4, Ansbach 0: Friday at Ansbach, Kiernan Blouin and Ben Harrison scored two goals apiece in a Tiger rout.
Hohenfels wraps up its season at 6-2 with a 4-1 record against the Division II opponents it will face in the postseason. Ansbach finished its regular season without a win.