It was a fine week for the Gonzaga University Bulldogs as they beat California State University 2-1 on Wednesday to win
the Fiorenza International School Calcetto Cup before a dedicated group of
supporting students from both schools.
The final match was an intense, lively encounter between the two best
teams of the tournament. Adding to the intensity, a die-hard group of fans put
on their best Curva Fiesole impersonation, chanting in support of their teams. Cal State had the bulk of
possession and the better of play for much of the match, yet it did seem to
struggle with attempts to break the hard-working, well-organized Gonzaga squad.
strong effort paid off late in the game, as they took the lead late in the
first half, and doubled their advantage in the second with both goals coming from
well-worked set-ups and precise finishing. Still, the Bulldogs were forced to
defend for much of the match. They managed to keep their opponents at bay
thanks to a determined performance from Ryan Schademan and brilliant
goal-tending by Kenny Mauro.
The magnificent duo’s combined efforts stifled Cal State talisman and tournament
top scorer Juan Carlos Guerrero, who applauded his opponents’ successful
efforts at the end of the match. Guerrero managed to find some solace with a
late goal in the second, cutting the deficit to one and being named the
tournament’s most valuable player. After the match, both teams were cheered off
the field. Later that evening, they came together to celebrate the tournament
at an awards ceremony held at the Lion’s Fountain Pub.
The men’s team must have been riding the same wave of success as the
women’s squad, which a day earlier won the first-ever women’s tournament,
clinching an impressive double victory for the Bulldogs. The women’s team
defeated California State University and celebrated their
teammate Kelsey Peterson, who was named most valuable player.
The tournament, which runs two and a half weeks and is now in its
seventh edition, has become immensely popular among students. It has also
helped to bring together students from nine different American universities
with campuses in Florence.
The Cup is
organized primarily by the Lion’s Fountain Pub and takes place at the Campi Via
dei Giusti. This year, the atmosphere was both fun and competitive with
players, fans and coaches passionately representing their schools as they
became more familiar with an integral part of Italian culture: il calcio.