Teams included NYU, Columbia, MIT, Wharton, Tuck, Babson, Simon, Tepper, Darden, and Duke (Harvard heard rumors of Yale’s strength and dropped out). The tournament kicked off this past Saturday in a dreary 48-degree drizzle. Yale 1 advanced to the quarter finals on Sunday as second in their bracket with a win against Tepper and ties against Wharton and Darden. Although Yale 2 fought hard throughout the whole day, their journey ended on Saturday.
With sunny skies and a slightly new formation, concocted by Captain and Mad Scientist, Rotimi Tewe, Yale came out strong on Sunday, setting the pace early and securing a definitive 3-0 win against NYU. Yale 1 directly moved on to play in the semi-finals against Tuck—rumored to have a prior professional soccer player on their team. Yale had assets of our own that proved more valuable. Yale 1 presented a strong showing and a 4-0 victory including a goal from Daniel Dzamesi and another when Alex Hellmuth overpowered the defense. Meanwhile, the next field over, Yale Alumni defeated Babson with a late goal to book their third finals appearance in Cup history (including a championship in 2007).
Playing their sixth game in 24 hours, players were running on adrenalin and motivation from the occasional glance to the sideline, where the Cup was waiting to be claimed. Yale 1’s defense had not let in a goal all day, and the offense was on a roll. Yale 1 went ahead 1-0 in the first half with Lothar Rauch scoring a great goal from the corner. Then came a second and a third. Up 3 to 0 with 15 minutes left in the game, it seemed clear it was about time to pop champagne and parade around with the trophy. However, the Alumni did not give up. They snuck in a header off a corner and then scored a gorgeous bicycle (a skillful upside-down shot), making it 3-2. Then the unthinkable happened: they scored a third goal to tie the game before the final whistle. A tie at the end of the game meant the winner would be decided on penalty kicks, a nerve-racking experience where each team selects five players to go one on one with the opposing goalie. Taking the lead, Eric Brailovsky confidently knocked one in, but the Alumni successfully countered with a goal. It looked like it could go back and forth endlessly, but Yale 1’s goalie, Joe Laurito, stepped up with two amazing saves in a row, putting them ahead and ultimately securing Yale’s place in Yale Cup history!
At the cost of future internships and coffee chats, Yale 1 defeated Yale Alumni, winning the Yale Cup for the first time in the 26 years of hosting the tournament. It was a tiring but exhilarating weekend, with excellent coordination and captaining from Rotimi Tewe, Jennifer Graham, Elad Hertshten, and Alex Hellmuth. Come next year, with a little help from Admissions, we will be ready to defend the title.