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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Marymount International grabbed its third consecutive DODDS Europe Division II boys’ soccer title with a 3-2 win in Thursday’s championship game over hometown rival American Overseas School of Rome.

The victory capped an undefeated season and was especially sweet for the team’s 11 close-knit seniors, most of whom have been playing together since grade school, said Simone Trott, the school’s athletic director and assistant soccer coach.

“This is their last hurrah, and they did it well,” Trott said.

“This is the best one,” agreed Giovanni Formilli Fendi, a senior attacker who scored all of Marymount’s goals.

Formilli Fendi’s first goal came early in the first half, his speed and quick footwork on display when he rolled past a defender near the goal cage and fired the ball in for a score.

But AOSR was able to shut off Marymount’s scoring machine for the rest of the half with some clutch defensive plays, including one by senior Justin Tuimavana, who cleared away a shot into the goal area with his head.

AOSR answered about 20 minutes into the first half when a shot bounced off Marymount goalie Alessandro Tinelli and midfielder Lucas Miller kicked it in off the rebound to tie the score up at 1-1.

That’s how it remained until Formilli Fendi worked his magic again early in the second half with a break-away goal, putting Marymount up 2-1.

AOSR threw up all its defenses to stop Fendi and company. The Falcons blocked another corner kick that threatened to find the net, and Tuimavana ran stride-for-stride to block charging Marymount attacker Marco Ludovichetti, the only defender between him and the goal. Several times, AOSR’s senior goalkeeper, Santiago Martinez-Sosa, sprinted as far as 20 yards out to fall on the ball and squelch a Marymount offensive attack.

While AOSR’s defenders were able to keep Marymount within striking distance, its offense stumbled for most of the second half. When in scoring range, AOSR players would slow or stop the ball to look for an open pass, giving Marymount defenders time to catch up and kick the ball away.

Formilli Fendi didn’t slow at all. He scored another runaway goal to put Marymount up 3-1.

AOSR’s hopes flickered briefly when Christian Caanen, a senior attacker, sent the ball sailing over Tinelli on a free kick with about five minutes left in the game, but Marymount’s defenses held until the final whistle.

“We’re going to get them next year,” said AOSR coach Niall Boyle.

Perhaps, but as Trott noted, “We have at least 16 new boys who want to join the soccer team next year.”

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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