Jade Tree United returned to the pitch this weekend with back-to-back games at the Ab Jones complex. Over the last two weeks, the team has been plagued by injuries and illness, leaving their bench severely depleted and without either their first or second position goalies. Andrew Agra (#12), who normally plays up front, took the keeper position for both games in a valiant attempt to keep the team on its feet in what turned out to be a very long weekend for the Jade Tree players.
Saturday night JTU faced WL Gore in a match that began rather evenly, but which eventually had Gore draining the Jade Tree team of its wind. Jade Tree held Gore most of the first period, but as the goals began coming their way, Jade Tree crumpled and Gore was able to sneak through and get several goals in the JTU net.
Alex Rudzinsky (#4) and Al Agra (#10) both contributed goals to bring Jade Tree back to life in the second half, reviving the team and bringing back its heart. In the end, it would not be enough, as Jade Tree fell to WL Gore 12-2.
Sunday’s game against United, JTU faced a strong team who has dominated the league most of the season. Knowing the game would be their biggest challenge to date, Jade Tree stepped up and brought an all out attack towards the United defenses.
Five minutes into the game, Victor Alvarez (#13) was knocked down in the box, but the referee turned a blind eye and JTU was denied the penalty kick.
While United got the upper hand early on, Jade Tree’s Alex Rudzinsky (#4) continued his scoring streak by placing two forceful goals into the net and keeping Jade Tree in the game before heading into half time down 6-2.
As the second half got off to fast-paced start, Alex Rudzinsky (#4) got his hat trick with a deftly timed kick at the United goal that easily found its way into the back of the net.
Late in the game, Darren Walters was able to convert a flubbed ball by the United keeper by slightly touching a rebound and flicking it towards the goal. The keeper turned to watch the ball roll into the goal before swatting the ball out of the net. The referee took a minute to review the play before finally awarding JTU the goal.
Andrew Agra, who was clearly frustrated by the endless shots on his goal, tried hard to keep composure in the second half, but it was evident that he was getting more than he could handle. However, JTU knew that they had to keep him in the goal and the defenses tightened to help the keeper. In the end, it would not be enough as Jade Tree suffered at the countless attempts on its goal. United ended the game with no mercy and giving Jade Tree United its worse defeat to date at 20-4.
The team has just one game left in the season, when it meets its archrivals, Fist, on February 12 at Ab Jones.