We came – We saw – We conquered!
Chills, butterflies in the stomach, and a great experience. These are some of the words from the players who went to the Callheat – San Francisco tournament last weekend! They will also tell you how both the men and women’s team fought together as a team, and both ended up in the finals.
As a club, we knew in advance that all pools would be difficult. So we spent a lot of time preparing ourselves. There were many things to take into account and the mental preparation phase is one of the most important factors.
On the women’s side, we knew that it would be a challenge during a rebuilding year with several new faces on the team. The first game on Friday evening against Smurfs was a challenge. We struggled to get in rhythm and find our game, however, we pulled out the win 22-18. On Saturday we started to feel more comfortable against Vancouver winning 32-18. With two wins we won our group (Group A – Chicago, Vancouver, Smurfs). We were on to play the 2nd seed in Group B, SF- CalHeat 1. We have played this team several times in the past but this time we had fewer players and some injuries, however, we were tough, we fought hard and ended up winning (22-18).
The finals would match us up with a new Houston Firehawks team that had proved to be tough all tournament long. Having never played them previously we didn’t know what to expect but we knew it would be a difficult test. Shorthanded due to injury, with only one sub, made for an added challenge. While we fought hard, the Firehawks outplayed us and we lost 20-22. While this was not the result we had hoped for, we were proud to take home the 2nd place trophy. We had a good tournament for a team that is growing, and we are looking forward to even greater results moving forward! WE WILL BE BACK NEXT YEAR!
The men’s team kicked ass from the beginning, they were looking forward to meeting all of the opponents because they knew that it would be some cool matches with some good fights. Chicago Inter has played against most off the teams in previous tournaments, so they knew what they were up against!
A few teams were unable to attend last minute so the tournament was restructured into a round robin format where every team played each other. The team that placed first and second in the group would play a final to determine the winner of the tournament.
The men’s team had a tough first game against San Francisco 1. With the flight in the bones and a late night game this would become a real test to our team. Nevertheless, after 60 minutes of hard work Chicago was able to collect the first and very important win in the tournament (25:24), which gave the necessary confidence to move forward.
The next morning the Junior team of Alberta was waiting for us. We played against a young and talented group of players and even though we were holding a big lead most of the game we needed to settle in the end to a tie 20:20. This was frustrating from our side as this should have been a winnable game for us. But Alberta capitalized on our mistakes and in the end we could only blame ourselves. This disappointment woke us up and lit a flame for the rest of the tournament.
Our next opponent was already waiting for us, which was San Francisco 2. Here the game went as planned and we secured a strong win with a final score of 24:16.
The last game in the group phase was the reigning San Francisco champions – Houston Firehawks THC. A strong team, which we had recently played and tied in Dallas. We knew that the game would be well fought and we looked forward to the challenge. This game was one of the most well-played games during the weekend with a lot of back and forth, chasing and leading. The game, maybe not surprisingly, ended with a tie (19:19). Overall this was a low score and definitely affected the 3rd game of the day. While a second tie was not the result we had been seeking it did secure us a finals spot again against Houston.
During the finale, all the players were focused on playing well and winning. Given that the two previous matches against Houston had ended in a tie, this did not look like it would be an easy game. We started strong and after only 10 minutes were able to pull away to a 11-8 lead. Houston struggled finding a rhythm and weren’t able to break through the strong defense. Our men were able to end the tournament with a fantastic 27:20 win against the Firehawks, winning the 2018 CalHeat Cup. Our second time winning the tournament.
The hard work of both teams paid off as shown in the tournament results as well as the individual results. On the women’s side, Natalie Achim took home the Highest Scorer award as well at the tournament MVP. On the men’s side, Stefan Asceric took home the Highest Scorer award, Eloy Rubio took home the MVP of the tournament, and Patrick Jalabert took home the Most Valuable Goalie award.
We are looking forward to continued success and growth for our women’s team and men’s team.
We are – Chicago Inter!