Unfortunately, our tournament ended at the qualifying rounds for both of our teams. The overall level of the tournament was really competitive, and all of the teams were very strong. It was also the first time competing in such a big and important international championship for both of our teams, so it might be that a little bit of tension played some tricks on them. However, all of our Gladiators played well and gave their best, battling on the field until the final buzzer. Plus, they gave proof to be two extremely cohesive teams, supporting and helping each other in the most difficult situations. And this is something that we don’t have to take for granted because teamowrk is one of the most fundamental pillars of the Gladiators spirit.
Now let’s take a closer look at what happened during this tournament, with some insights match by match.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15
Landed at Barcelona International Airport – El Prat, straight to the Hostel, and then a run to the Mar Bella Sports Centre for the first game, which saw JCU Futsal team facing Czech Technical University in Prague, a very tough opponent who didn’t take it easy on our Gladiators and won 5-0. Considering that it was the first game, a little bit of anxiety probably clouded our Gladiators’ plays, and let the opposing team took over.
Second game was against the American University of Cairo. A difficult game that put more emphasis on the physical aspect then on a technical one. After the loss against the Czech, JCU took the field very focused and determined, immediately gaining the upper hand thanks to Fernando Royuela‘s goal. However, after JCU score, the opponents brought the game on another level, becoming more competitive and aggressive. The game ended 4-1 for the American University of Cairo.
“We could have definitely won this game. This team was not as strong as the other one. But they started to become very aggressive, and that unfair trick turned to our disadvantage,” JCU coach Manuel Franceschi commented at the end of the game.
From one field straight to another, later in the afternoon, it was the turn for JCU basketball team to play its first game against HEC Paris at the CEM Olìmpics. The first minutes of the game were quite intense with the two teams tying up the results whenever one of the two used to get the advantage.
However, the second quarter turned the table in favor of the opposing team. JCU play started to drop both in attack and in defense, leaving space to the opponents to score. The game ended 30-14 for HEC Paris.
JCU vs HEC Paris
“We started really strong, but in the second quarter, I don’t know what happened, the team went loose and lost the focus. I think that if we had handled the match better, we could have won it,” JCU coach Francesco Serraino commented.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16
Second day started off with the Men’s Futsal team taking the field for their last game of the qualifying rounds against Paris School Business.
Disappointed by the two defeats from the previous day, our Gladiators wanted to get their revenge and could have not accepted to lose this game, as well. They came down to the field really focused and played an excellent game, winning 2-0 thanks to Fernando‘s and Andrea Palazzi‘s goals.
However, one victory was not enough to advance to the 1/8 final, and our Gladiators earned the third place in their pool ranking.
“I think this was a great experience from which we can learn a lot. It’s true, we didn’t win, but this experience helped us get to know each other better and to create a more cohesive team. We are now more aware of who we are and what we can do,” JCU captain of the team Serafino Pinna Vodret affirmed.
Our Futsal team proved to be a very good team that never give up in any situation. Congrats, Gladiators!
In the afternoon, we then headed to the CEM Olìmpics again to watch our basketball team for their last two games of the qualifying rounds.
First game was against the American University of Cairo, but JCU fell to the opposing team in 31-13 loss. Our Gladiators tried their best, but shots didn’t fell, opening up chances to the opponents to block and score more.
During the game, our captain Patrick Gilmore also received a hit on the nose and had to run off the field. This event probably disoriented our team, which was not able to perform a come back.
Last game was against University Politehnica of Bucharest, the strongest team in the pool on paper. However, our Gladiators played in an excellent way, making it harder for the opposing team to score. JCU lost only for 3 points, ending the game 23-26. An impressive performance from our Gladiators who were able to stand up to a very tough team.
JCU vs University Politehnica of Bucharest
“If we had played the other two games as we played this last one, we could have made it to the 1/8 Final,” coach Francesco said at the end of the game.
Similarly to our Futsal team, our basketball team didn’t advance the qualifying round. However, you all did a good job because you kept fighting and gave your best until the end! Congrats!
Overall, it was a good tournament. The level of the teams participating wes extremely high, and both our Futsal and Basketball teams started to practice together only since September. Despite we didn’t win, we are proud of each one of you, Gladiators for always trying to give your best on the field and holding high our Gladiators spirit. During these days, we saw good teamwork, and we know that with time and more practice you’ll be able to do much greater things in the future. But what’s more important is that you found friends we hope you’ll stay in contact with for the rest of your life.
Thank you, Gladiators!