NestCom is a recognized student organization at Minnesota State University. Each year, a soccer tournament is organized by the Nepalese and this time it was NestCom’s turn as they were the reigning champions from the previous tournament. Teams from Moorhead State University (Himalayan Raptors), St. Cloud State University (St. Cloud), and two teams from MNSU named NestCom-A and NestCom-B were the four teams that competed in this tournament.
All the teams were excited for the tournament and arrived early to the Schellberg Gym to warm up. The first match was between the Himalayan Raptors and St. Cloud. The Raptors were victorious as they won the game with a three-goal cushion as the final score ended 4-1. NestCom-A and NestCom-B played the second match and NestCom-A won the match with four goals. After the first round, NestCom-A were leading the table with a higher goal difference.
The second round started with NestCom-B playing against the Raptors. The Raptors ended up increasing their goal difference by eight, as they won the match easily. Then, NestCom-A went head-to-head with St. Cloud but were unsuccessful as they lost the match 4-2. After the second round, Himalaya lead with six points. NestCom-A and St. Cloud were in second and third positions, respectively, with three points each. Meanwhile, NestCom-B was struggling with no points accounted for.
In the third round, NestCom-A and the Raptors ended their match with a draw. Meanwhile, St. Cloud won their match against NestCom-B. The table stood with the Raptors at the top with seven points, St. Cloud in second with six, NestCom-A in third with four and NestCom-B at the bottom with zero points still. The Raptors advanced to the finals while NestCom-A and St. Cloud faced off in the semis. The semifinal was extremely intense, as it went to extra time due to a 4-4 draw at full time. Eventually, St. Cloud scored two goals in quick successions and ended up advancing to the finals.
“We could have done better, but the team morale was down because of miscommunication and the late two goals conceded by us” said Sujan Bhandari of NestCom-A, the top goal-scorer of the tournament with nine goals
The final match between St. Cloud and the Himalayan Raptors was all a championship could hope for. The Raptors scored early in the game, but St. Cloud responded shortly after and the game was even until half-time. In the second half, St. Cloud earned a penalty but it proved to be a non-factor, as they were able to gain the lead. Later a controversial decision of a hand ball was made by the referee, awarding the penalty to St. Cloud again. This time they made no mistake and scored the penalty shot to take the lead, 2-1. The Raptors were disgusted by the referee’s decision, but they kept on pressuring their opponent. In the end, they were unable to score and St. Cloud were the victors.