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Incirlik can call itself the European champion of co-ed teams after defeating the other co-ed team at the DODDS-Europe tourney, Lajes, 3-0. Here  Lajes'  Alex Ciranni, right, battles Incirlik's Aaron Whitaker for the ball.
Incirlik can call itself the European champion of co-ed teams after defeating the other co-ed team at the DODDS-Europe tourney, Lajes, 3-0. Here Lajes' Alex Ciranni, right, battles Incirlik's Aaron Whitaker for the ball. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

MEHLINGEN, Germany — In beating the Lajes Falcons 3-0 Thursday, the Incirlik Hodjas won more than just their second game in four tries at the DODDS-Europe Division III boys soccer tournament.

The victory over the Falcons, the only team besides Incirlik among the 63 teams entered here with a combined-boy-girl team, gave the Hodjas unofficial bragging rights as 2011 European co-ed champions.

“It was more fun playing against girls,” said Incirlik senior midfielder Mariah Whitaker, whose team downed Rota, 2-1, in Wednesday’s opener before falling, 7-0, to second-seeded Sigonella later in the day. Both are all-male teams.

Daniel Buffett scored twice Wednesday for Incirlik in this battle between the eastern and western edges of DODDS-Europe. Buffett nearly added a spectacular third goal when his bicycle kick from the top of the box bounced straight down off the crossbar rather than crossing the line. Aaron Whitaker drove home the Hodjas’ other tally.

Even with the victory, however, Incirlik probably played its final game of the tourney. The Hodjas opened Thursday’s pool play with a 3-0 loss to third-seeded Brussels, and their final 2-2 pool-play record, good for six points, likely won’t advance them to Friday’s semifinals.

Sigonella, which will take a 3-0 record (nine points) into its pool-play finale this morning against winless Lajes, clinched its spot in the semis by downing Brussels 2-1 Thursday. It will take an upset of Brussels (2-1) by Rota (1-2) on Friday morning to force a three-way tie for second and keep Incirlik alive in the tiebreakers.

All that’s neither here nor there, however, to Incirlik freshman midfielder Allyn Anderson, another of Incirlik’s female stalwarts.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “It’s been a very long time since we won here.”

Does that make the long trip to Germany worth it?

“It’s actually fun,” Anderson said of the trip from southeastern Turkey. “It gives us a chance to get away from home.”

bryanr@estripes.osd.mil

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