November 24, 2023
The AIS-Salzburg Lions soccer team rolled into Vienna on Saturday, November 18th, hungry to defend their title as DVAC champions. Five teams would contend for the 2023 DVAC junior varsity soccer trophy in a round-robin format.
In the first match against a familiar foe of ICS Vienna, the game was back and forth for most of the first half before the Lions broke through with 2 quick goals – one an own goal, the other by Erno V. From there, the Lions were able to ride out the rest of the match and preserve a shutout for a good start to the day.
The second match would find the Lions under more pressure. The Danube International School proved to be a difficult opponent but the Lions stood tough, and their efforts eventually paid off. Lars T. found himself in the middle of the action as he accounted for three assists. The first was a cross sent in from a corner for a towering header by Diego O. Luka Savic added 2 more on feeds from Lars. Alejandro L. rounded out the scoring in a 4-1 victory. Keeper Ilias S. also stood out as he saved a vital penalty kick when the score was still even. After this match, Coach Matt was quick to praise the quality each player showed in this match.
“This was our best match this season,” said coach Matt. “The boys were working for each other, communicating, and playing some real quality football. Coach Ali and I looked at each other in disbelief and extreme pride as the boys pinged the ball around the field!”
In the third match against Cambridge International School, the Lions came out flat and were not playing up to the standards they had set in the previous match; even falling behind a goal early on. However, Cambridge did not have any subs, and it began to show as the match went on. The Lions quickly responded with 2 goals of their own, both quality goals from Vlad M. and assisted again by Lars. In the end, the Salzburg squad would overwhelm their foe in a commanding 8-1 victory. Further goals were scored by Luka S. —assisted by Luca S.— while Lars and Diego both scored from distance. Vico S. scored his first goal on a long run past the Cambridge defense, and Alejandro scored the final goal after receiving a pass in the box from Noah A., who tallied his first assist of the season.
In a pleasant twist of fate, the final match of the day would put the Lions against the VIS Panthers. Both teams had won all 3 previous matches, meaning this final match would determine the outright champion. The match began timidly on both sides, with neither team looking to take many risks. This would change when the Panthers scored a fluke own goal off of pressure from Luka S. Up 1-0, the Lions continued to put pressure on the Panthers and it paid off, as Luka would net 2 more strikes off of assists from the all-action Lars before riding out the remaining time to victory. With the result, the Lions were crowned the tournament winners for the 2nd year in a row!
After the match, Assistant Coach Ali Welch said, “We are so proud of the way the boys came together and achieved this goal. Absolutely everyone played so well today. The boys’ improvement across the board was evident for all to see.”
Unsung heroes of the day include the entire defensive line, with Petar V., Daniel A., and Niels S. continually thwarting all the opponents’ attacks, and causing them frustration, while providing a solid foundation from which to build out. Wingbacks Vico and Luca tirelessly covered so much ground to help in defense and attack. Mikail G. and Alex A. provided strong minutes of pressure off the bench, as did Mykyta K. Everyone should be proud of their improvement and the way they did a job when called upon.
Congratulations to the entire boys’ soccer team and their coaches!