Inter Men Secure Fifth at 2013 West Point Invitational

March 5, 2013

Friday, March 1st

Despite planning a sufficient amount of time to recover from the travel and get into the spirit of the tournament, the men’s team got off to a slow start. “We knew going in that West Point would be able to provide a high level of intensity both physically and technically,” commented Patrick Jalabert.  This fact would be quickly confirmed by the Cadet’s convincing 30-13 win over Air Force before stepping on to the court to tango with Inter.
The Chicago machine took time to warm up, giving the local team the opportunity to pull ahead early in the game. Despite managing to increase the level of play in the second half, WP Black did not drop the pressure and maintained a steady lead all the way to the end.  The game ended with a disappointing 7 goal loss ( 20-13 ) for the Inter men, while WP Black moved to 2-0 and its path to 1st place in the group going seemingly unchecked.

Tak Mimura flying high on a break through.

Tak Mimura flying high on a break through. Photo by Andrzej Choinski

Andrzej Choinski‘s

“We need to pull it together if we don’t want to be on our way home tomorrow!” was the main message coach Pawel communicated to the players as we remained on the court for a second consecutive game, this time against Air Force.

Once again the youthful opponents proved to have more physical intensity in their game and with one game in the bag already, Inter seemed to struggle to make its presence felt and fell to a three goal deficit in the first 10 minutes.  But the men dug deep and refused to lose a second time, and by strengthening their defensive efforts, gradually took the upper hand. Although Air Force never gave up, Inter held on to take the win 24-19 and ensure a place in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Saturday, March 2nd

With only one game on the schedule for the day, it was key that the team come fully prepared to take on the Canadian champions, Levis.  After a strong start, it seemed the team could hope for a positive outcome. Unfortunately, the defeat to WP had left its marks and the group began to lose focus and fall apart when the opponent upped the stakes and, slowly, they drew level and ahead. Once again, our strong determination brought the men back within a respectable distance in the last few minutes but the damage was done and disappointment could be read all over all of the players faces after a 28-23 loss which relegated the team to waiting for the outcome of the other quarterfinals to know if it would be playing for 5th or 7th place on Sunday.

UNknown dude attacks the defense on the dribble.

Pedrag Bezbradica attacks the defense on the dribble. Photo by Andrzej Choinski

Sunday, March 3rd

After a night on the town to relieve the pressure and regroup the team, the men regrouped to face  UNC for 5th place.  Despite the desire to go out on a win, the start of the game did not look promising. With few turnovers, UNC knew they had nothing more to prove and caught Inter off guard with some good plays that gave them an early 6-3 lead after 8 minutes.  It was, as ever, the collective will of the Inter men to not go home on a loss, that helped them battle back to a halftime lead of 12-9.  However, the second half got off to another rough start and it looked like the game might slip away.  But a change of defensive strategy (new goalie, new positioning) helped to maintain the lead and, finally, take 5th place with a 24-21 win.

A break from the traditional team in the goal pose!

A break from the traditional team in the goal pose!

This weekend ended with another win for NYC and some convincing handball from West Point Black despite their 21-20 loss to Celtique for 3rd place. It seems the contenders for a medal in Reno will be numerous and the men will have to regroup over the coming weeks.  Tuesday begins our road to Reno, hoping for a Wild Card spot and working towards a strong group.

Let’s go Inter! We know we have it in us!!!