The Norfolk Express Big Dweams Under 19 team managed a 1-1 tie with the undefeated Sioux City Tristate Revolution U17s Sunday afternoon, but it wasn’t quite good enough for first place in the 22nd annual Norfolk Express Tournament.
With a 3-0-1 record in the division, and a 3-0 win over Norfolk to open the tournament, the Revolution bettered Norfolk’s 2-1-1 finish to take home the championship.
Meanwhile, a third team in the group — the Norfolk Express Thunder — was unable to garner a victory, finishing 0-4.
In the final game, despite a strong effort in goal by Trevin Beltz in the first half with seven saves, the Revolution managed a single goal for a 1-0 advantage.
“By the rules, if a player is sitting or laying on the ground and they kick the ball, it does not count as a goal, but they allowed it in this game,” Norfolk coach Dave Anderson said.
Norfolk, which scored its goal in the second half, also received quality play in goal in the second half from Anthony Castro with a pair of saves.
Rocky Gavaro, who was awarded a penalty kick from 15 yards out and directly in front of the goal, was able to score on the rebound created on the blocked shot by the Revolution’s goalkeeper to create the 1-all tie.
“Rocky shot the ball, and it deflected to the right,” Anderson said. “He followed his shot and put it in on the left side.”
Overall, Anderson, who was coaching the U19 team for the first time, was pleased with his team, which was made up of Norfolk High soccer alumni and current Panther players, as well as area players from Norfolk Catholic, West Point and Madison.
They came together specifically for this tournament, improved in each game, and played their best soccer in the final game against the Revolution, he said.
“The key is they were all friends, they were accepting of the other kids coming in, and they’re building friendships,” Anderson said. “It was a little rough to start out Friday night when we lost 3-0 to the Revolution, but in the two games we played against the Express Thunder U16s the boys started to put it together and played much better this time against the Revolution."