Intramural soccer: Quality in the Box upends Fake Madrid


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With his intramural soccer match tied and time becoming an enemy, Brom Slutter decided to use his head to put his team in the lead.

His team, Quality in the Box, had tied its game against Fake Madrid minutes earlier. Slutter had the ball come his way on a pass to the left, and he responded with a strong header that soared through the diving goalkeeper's hands.

The score gave his team — made up of Iowa science graduate students — the lead until the final seconds of the game, where it found the goal again to end its match against Fake Madrid, 4-2, on Monday in the Bubble.

"I normally don't score that much with my head," Slutter said. "I didn't know whether to head it or kick it in the goal, so I said, 'What the heck?' I found a bit of luck."

But while Slutter's goal put his team ahead to stay, goalies were the story of the match's opening minutes. Both sides of the field had numerous strong, well-placed shots blocked by one-handed or diving saves from Quality in the Box's Eyo Upkong and Fake Madrid's Ciesco Febrian. Neither goalie seemed to want to be the man who allowed the game's first point, but Fake Madrid was able to end the defensive play and score the game's first points.

Fake Madrid received a free kick after using the match's physical nature to its advantage, and captain Zac Rasmussen sent the ball flying past three defenders and Upkong.

Quality in the Box took advantage of the physicality to draw a free kick of its own, which Slutter placed in the net to tie the game at 1-1.

Mistakes began to pile up on both sides of the field, as both teams attempted to gain the lead going into the halftime break. Quality in the Box put constant pressure on its opponent, but Fake Madrid was able to best the heat by scoring off of a steal for a 2-1 lead.

But the match belonged to Quality in the Box from the onset of the second half.

"I feel like we had good athletes and good pressure," captain Taylor Raborn said. "We wanted to take the aggressiveness away, and we were able to."

It was evident from the beginning that the team had discussed playing the game at its own pace; Raborn could be heard shouting at his teammates to be patient.

Upkong's play in the goal was key to keeping Quality in the Box in the game. He gave away a free kick when he threw an inbounds pass from outside of his goalie box but seemed to expend little effort when he saved Fake Madrid's ensuing shot.

Quality in the Box controlled the tempo and used steals and aggressive goal attempts to create opportunities like the head-butt, which occurred shortly after a Febrian save.

Fake Madrid tried to respond but couldn't find the way to the other end of the field; when it finally looked ready to score, aggressive defense allowed Quality in the Box room to breathe as time dwindled away.

"We had a lot of chances, and we didn't convert on a lot of them," said Rasmussen, who spent Feb. 3-4 participating in Dance Marathon. "I'm still a bit tired; I chose supporting cancer research over soccer."

With the game in hand and seconds remaining, it appeared as if Quality in the Box would let the clock expire and end the game. But this wasn't the case; the team scored again in the game's final seconds to give itself the breathing room it had been looking for.

"It was all about the team," Slutter said. "It's also about good discipline, but mostly having fun."

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