Blitz Blizzard closes on a positive note

The under-18 squad closes with a 4-2 win at the national championships.

July 26, 2003

By Nathan Max
Contributing writer

Germantown, Md. - With two minutes remaining in the Syracuse Blitz Blizzard's final game at the 2003 Snickers under-18 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships and the scored tied at 2, a frustrated coach Craig Wilkie screamed to his team: "We just don't have the will to win."

Twenty seconds later, his team proved him wrong. 

Forward Brian Perry scored his second goal of the game in the 88th minute, and forward Devin Deane added another in the 90th to give the Blizzard a 4-2 victory over the Tulsa Nationals on a hot afternoon at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

Midfielder Tom Fahl recorded two assists, and midfielder Mac Wilkie registered a goal and an assist to give Syracuse its first win of the tournament. The Blitz Blizzard (1-2) took third place and Tulsa (0-2-1) placed fourth.

"He says that and it kind of gets us motivated," Perry said. "He knows we're playing hard, and he doesn't say that because he thinks we don't have the will to win. He says it to get us even more pumped up . . . When it's that late in the game, you kind of need it sometimes."

The win was somewhat bittersweet. The Blizzard had numerous scoring chances go awry in its first two games.

"We can't be too disappointed," Perry said. "We've never won regionals before, so we were blown away by that. We're happy that we at least got one win."

Syracuse held a decisive edge, outshooting Tulsa 20-11, and played an entertaining, attacking style. After Perry scored in the 24th minute to give the Blizzard an early lead, Syracuse conceded a goal a minute before halftime and another in the 59th minute to fall behind 2-1.

Mac Wilkie, normally a playmaker, finished a perfectly executed combination when he took a pass in the box from Tobias Schattschneider in the 62nd minute to bring the Blizzard back.

"We got a bronze medal out of this, and I'm disappointed we're not in the final. I think the way we played this week, we deserved to be in the final," Wilkie said. "We just didn't have the mojo to score goals in the other two games."

2003 The Post-Standard.