Pepi’s gets 3-1 win, goes through
EDWARDS ” The busiest guy as the Pepi’s men’s soccer team was finishing up a 3-1 win over the Bootleggers to complete pool play Saturday during the Vail Invitational Soccer Tournament wasn’t even on the pitch.
Not only was tournament director Miller Lewis having to reconfigure the seedings for today’s playoffs, but he was also working the grill at Freedom Park.
Pepi’s started Saturday with a 1-1 draw against Casual F.C. and then downed the Bootleggers easily to finish second in its group and advance to today’s quarterfinals.
“It feels good definitely,” said Kugler, who had two goals in Pepi’s’ win. “You just try to give yourselves a chance. Now it’s a whole new tournament. Those other games don’t matter. We start fresh again. Coming in as a low seed doesn’t rally matter. We know all the teams are going to be quality from here on out.”
Pepi’s finished second in Pool A with a 1-0-2 record and will take on either America or Three Lions from Pool D today at 11:30 a.m. at the Vail Mountain School in the round of eight. America finished pool play with a 3-0 record and 27 points. Three Lions is 2-0, sitting on 18, and will play Pepi’s if it beats F.C. Denver by a score of 3-0 or better today at 8 a.m. at Ford Park.
Aguilas causes problems
A team that ended up not showing up for the tournament, Aguilas, put Pepi’s in a pickle for most of the day, wondering about its chances for Sunday. Pepi’s tied Casual F.C. with a goal by Andy Banner.
With two ties worth eight points, Pepi’s needed a 3-0 win, worth 10 points ” six for the win, one for each goal scored up to three and one for the shutout, against the Bootleggers later in the day to entertain any chance of capturing a berth in today’s quarterfinals.
With the Ex-Jesuits winning Pool A, Aguilas’ absence diminished those chances greatly. All of Aguilas’ opponents were awarded 3-0 wins by forfeit, meaning that teams from Pool D were automatically awarded 10 points and had a leg up on the race for the four wild card spots, one of which that Pepi’s also coveted.
The pressure was on to score a bunch against the Bootleggers to give the local side a chance of advancing.
“We wanted to come out and get max(imum) points,” Pepi’s’ Eddie Schoenbein said.
As it turned out, Lewis along with Joel Rabinowitz made the correct decision to reformat the tournament to adapt to Aguilas’ absence. Instead of the four pool winners and four wild cards going through to the quarters, the two decided to make it the top-two teams from each pool to even out the advantage that teams in Pool D had from Aguilas’ forfeits.
Earning it on the pitch
Oblivious to the ruling, Schoenbein helped his team’s squad with a goal off a free kick in the first half for a 1-0 lead.
“We had been practicing that set play this year,” Schoenbein said. “The ball came at me low and it just went in.”
A win by any margin would have clinched second in its pool and a berth in today’s quarters, but Pepi’s didn’t know that at the time and was pressing to score goals for more tournament points. Banner fed Kugler with a beautiful pass for a 2-0 lead.
“That … was Andy working on the side,” Kugler said. “I was just trying to get myself in position for what happened. It was an open net. I’d sit myself on the bench if I’d miss that.”
Pepi’s got the third goal it thought it needed when Kugler had a breakaway. The Bootleggers’ goalie came out to challenge, but Kugler chipped his shot over him and into the net.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.