By Jenny Mitchell, San Jose Steamrollers

Last weekend, the San Jose Steamrollers hosted the Vancouver Lightning for two days of exciting International Power Soccer games. The BORP Bay Earthquakes (based in Berkeley), Hollister Free Wheelers, and Santa Barbara Rollin’ Gauchos also participated in the tournament, which served as a season finale for some teams and a warm-up for the USPSA National Championships for others.

The Opening Ceremonies and National Anthems were very moving, but as soon as the first whistle blew, it was all business. San Jose and Vancouver kicked off the tournament with a tense opening match. Both teams played good defense and the game ended up tied 0-0 – San Jose’s first tie all season. Berkeley and Santa Barbara picked up the pace for the second game. The Earthquakes scored three goals each period for a 6-0 win against the Gauchos. Two goals apiece were scored by Brandon Johnson, Jessica Lehman, and Team USA member Kendra Scalia-Carrow. Vancouver then faced the hard-hitting Hollister Free Wheelers. Both teams played admirably and Hollister came away with the victory by a score of 1-0.

The Steamrollers brought more energy to their second match of the day against the Gauchos. Santa Barbara fought hard and Bill Balles scored, but they couldn’t keep up the pace and San Jose won 3-1. Berkeley then took their shot against the Vancouver Lightning, who continued to play good defense and rotated well. Berkeley duplicated Hollister’s efforts and beat Vancouver 1-0. The host San Jose Steamrollers wrapped up the day’s competition by beating Hollister 4-0 thanks to three goals by Paul Bauer.

Some players met up that evening for dinner and drinks at a local restaurant, but most headed back to their homes or hotels to rest up for Day Two. Santa Barbara and Vancouver got the day started early Sunday morning with a close game for the whole 40 minutes. For a while it looked like Santa Barbara would come away with the win, but Vancouver’s Lareina Young scored in the 39th minute of play to tie the game 1-1. Then the San Jose Steamrollers and BORP Bay Earthquakes played each other for the last time before heading off to the National Championships next month. Both teams amped up their quality of play for the match and San Jose battled hard for their 3-0 victory over Berkeley.

In the next match, Santa Barbara brothers Josh & Eric Ridgeway led the Gauchos to a 2-0 victory over the Hollister Freewheelers. Then came a rematch from Saturday morning, San Jose and Vancouver facing each other again, each with hopes of scoring. Their hopes were rewarded – Vancouver’s Shayne DeWildt struck first with a running breakaway goal to the post, but San Jose answered right back to score on a corner kick to Jairo Solorio. But that was the end of the scoring, and the game once again ended in a tie, 1-1. The last match of the weekend featured local teams Berkeley and Hollister. Just like the Vancouver/San Jose game, Berkeley’s Jessica Lehman and Hollister’s Chad Bojorquez each scored early in the first half, but defense took over from there. The last game ended in a 1-1 tie, the fourth tie in the tournament.

The tournament was a very enjoyable way to spend a weekend. For San Jose (3-0-2) and Berkeley (2-1-1), the matches were a needed tune-up before the USPSA National Tournament in June. For Hollister and Santa Barbara (both 1-1-2), the end of their season brings things to work on for the next. And for Vancouver’s (0-3-2) first trip to California, it was a very strong showing. Even though they didn’t win, they twice tied the Western Region’s top team and never allowed more than one goal. They are anxiously awaiting the top four U.S. teams to visit them in Vancouver this fall at the next America’s Champions Cup!