SAN ANTONIO, Texas –
The Lackland Warhawks' Defender Cup aspirations didn't go as planned, settling for a 3-2 win over Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., and third place in the annual Labor Day weekend tournament.
The 11th-seeded Warhawks defeated sixth-seeded Kirtland AFB, N.M., and No. 14 Randolph AFB before losing to second-seeded and eventual Defender Cup champion Patrick AFB, Fla., in Monday's semifinals, 2-1.
"There was a lot of fight in our team," said Warhawks Coach Spencer Spriesterbach. "We fought back from two goals down yesterday (against Randolph) and won 3-2. We fought back today, and if we'd had another five to 10 minutes, we would have been playing (Patrick AFB) in overtime."
Spriesterbach appreciates the effort his team made in going as far as it did.
"It's a very physical tournament," the coach said. "We played six games in three days, so that's asking a lot from your body, but they gave it their all."
No player made more of an impact than Jeremy Reding, who was awarded the Golden Boot as the Defender Cup's offensive most valuable player after leading the event with five goals. The award was a bittersweet accomplishment for Reding, who watched Patrick AFB crowned cup champions following Lackland's victory over Holloman AFB, N.M.
Reding and the Warhawks had their confidence boosted by the team's competitive semifinal performance even in defeat.
"They beat us pretty bad in pool play (the contest held Saturday to determine tournament seeding), but we kept up with them in the semifinals," Reding said. "Who knows? I'd like to get another crack at Patrick to see if we could beat them."
Even with the disappointing finish, Spriesterbach was happy about how the team played with only two months of practice.
"If we had opened up the field, we could have put up more points," he said. "We played the ball a little too high and they had us height-wise. But, we played them pretty well."