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Updated: Jul 25, 2022

During the season the Tidewater Piranhas played 20 matches, finishing with 14W-4L-2D while scoring 46 goals! The team had traveled to tournaments in Jacksonville Florida, Wooster Ohio and Rochester New Hampshire in order to achieve the needed 8 games for qualification to the Conference Cup. The Piranhas qualified and then competed in the Presidents Conference.

In late June the Tidewater Piranhas traveled to Fort Wayne, Indiana to play in the 2022 United States Power Soccer Association (USPSA) MK Battery National Conference Cup Tournament. Over 250 athletes forming 36 teams from 15 states competed in one of four different Conference Cups: Premier (Division 1), Champion’s (D2), President’s (D3), and Founder’s (D4). At the end of the national championship the top two teams in each division would be promoted up while the bottom two would be relegated down.

The first two opponents were from Texas as the Piranhas defeated the Houston Fireballs 3-0 and the San Antonio STRAPS Scorpions 4-0 on day 1. As day 2 started the Piranhas had their first live broadcast game of the tournament which was against the Brooks Barracudas from Jacksonville FL who have become their biggest rivals. Kevin said, “For a few years now we have played them, always a tough battle with both sides winning and losing. Our former assistant Coach and his son played for the Piranhas for 3 years before they recently moved to FL and joined the Barracudas. Both teams at the time were undefeated heading into the final group game. During the game it was a close, hard-fought battle until there was a ramming call, a direct free kick against the barracudas, prime scoring opportunity for the Piranhas, as Coach brought our GK and designated hitter PJ up to blast the shot on goal, it worked 1-0 Piranhas! The Barracudas tie the game just before halftime. The Piranhas retake the lead and score from open play as Sammy passes to Hannah who crossed the ball to Nikki scoring the goal 2-1. Coach brings on our newest player Amy who is also a former Marine who has played in the Veterans wheelchair games, She put the Cherry on top scoring from a PJ pass, 3-1 Piranhas as the Barracudas become frustrated and 2 different players got yellow cards as they rammed our talisman Sammy but the final score holds. The Piranhas remained undefeated through the group stage and were on to the knockout rounds! The next game was seven hours later, so from being amped up with adrenaline from the game against the Barracudas the Piranhas were now playing the lowest seed from group B at night. The Piranhas were sluggish and had over looked their opponents, looking lost at times against the SoCal Vaqueros from Los Angeles. The Piranhas managed to score 1-0 and it stood that way at the half. Just a few minutes into the second half the Vaqueros shocked their opponents as they drove the ball in and tied the match. But the Piranhas buckled down, scoring two more goals to put the game away at 3-1. They were on to the semifinals! Day 3 was our semi final match against another California team, the San Jose Rockets who had a tough defense. Late in the 1st half a penalty was awarded for the fish as the rockets had rammed Hannah in the box. PJ rolled up to take the kick, as the shot was blasted home it was very close to the GK who almost saved the shot, 1-0 Piranhas! As chances for both teams continued before the final whistle was blown. The Piranhas were heading to the President’s Cup Final 5 hours later. Their opponent in the final was another undefeated team, the Shepard Strikers from Atlanta GA. Both teams have met over the years with neither having a distinct advantage over the other so it was bound to be a close match. During the game the Piranhas played tough and had great scoring chances. The Piranhas defense cracked from a kick in cross to the far post goal for a 1-0 Strikers lead at the half. The Piranhas bit back as they leveled the score shortly after the break 1-1. The game was then a seesaw with both teams having opportunities but unable to capitalize. With 5 minutes left in the game the Strikers had almost a corner kick opportunity as the Defenders were trying to stop the far post cross what the Strikers had done the entire game, while the cross went to the middle attacker as the ball was tipped between two Piranhas defenders scoring the winning goal 2-1 Strikers. The closing minutes saw the Piranhas throwing everyone forward as the Strikers desperately held on to their slim lead. Unfortunately for the Piranhas, the final whistle sounded before they could find the equalizer. Their season was over, although finishing just short in a tough Cup Final loss, they were returning home with silver medals and a promotion to the Champions Conference! The Presidents Conference consisted of 8 teams as the Piranhas finished in 2nd place, playing 6 games with 5 wins and 1 loss. Much improved from the 2019 season after placing 4th. The team has been promoted to the Champions Conference and will need to keep performing at a very high level during next season. Throughout the season the Piranhas had multiple hurdles to overcome with 3 different lineups in 3 qualifying tournaments, 2 of those tournaments they had no subs available. The Piranhas needed to find a new gym to hold practice, had 3 new players join the team, Chris Mulholland, Katie Scaccia and Amy McKee! Katie had 5 goals on the year tied for most goals on the team unfortunately she had surgery and missed Nationals. Our main starter Nikki Dwyer had moved to Tennessee in 2019 and had missed years practicing with us, she had been practicing by herself all season. Chris Mulholland former referee who helped create the rules of power soccer was diagnosed with ALS in 2020 and father to Kevin Mulholland joined the Piranhas team. Through qualifying Chris Mulholland scored 5 goals and even received a yellow card! Chris was also presented with the USPSA President’s Award for his lifetime achievements and dedication to the sport of power soccer at Nationals.

As he is also the first ALS member to play power soccer and first Father/Son teammates to play together! Despite all these hurdles the team had high expectations and achieved their goal to make it to the Final, despite the loss the experience gained by all members of the team will certainly serve us well as we look forward to next season!

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