TWIST 2019: Tournament stands the Sunday heat; WYSL gets its last shot on Championship Monday

TWIST 2019: Tournament stands the Sunday heat; WYSL gets its last shot on Championship Monday

reporter photo

WALLINGFORD — Darkness was coming on fast, the final games of Day 2 of the The Wallingford Invitational Soccer Tournament were in the books and Dave Rodriguez found himself moving a car in a Choate parking lot.

Apparently “parking valet” also falls under the job description of a TWIST director.

”We wear a lot of hats here,” said Rodriguez’s fellow director, Sean Slowik.

Another director, Brian Burr, after a 14-hour Suday, was just looking forward to a night of sleep.

Ah, yes, one more day for TWIST organizers and volunteers to rise and shine at 6 a.m.

The last batch of division championships will be played Monday morning at Choate and the 35th annual TWIST will be history, though some teams who headed home Sunday were already looking forward to No. 36.

“It’s gone very well,” Rodriguez said once he got that car parked. “A few of the new New York clubs said, ‘Look, we’re coming back here every year.’”

One of those new squads, Sag Harbor Union, returned home to the East End of Long Island with the boys U19 trophy after defeating the Wallingford Raptors in the final.

It was one of three championship game defeats suffered by Wallingford Youth Soccer League teams on Sunday. Two girls teams — the U15 Wolves and the U19 Wildfire — dropped 1-0 decisions up on Choate’s hilltop turf field.

There was also heartbreak in the semifinals, where Burr’s unbeaten Warriors fell 4-1 to Middletown Youth Soccer’s GVS 2007.

Wallingford Youth Soccer does have two more chances to winner a title at its home tournament. The Tigers play Trumbull in the U12 Division 2 boys final at 9:30 a.m. and the Strikers square off with Brazil CT Yellow in the U12 girls championship at 11:30 a.m.

Those games are two of eight finals that will play at Choate on Monday morning, starting at 9 a.m.

Seven other divisions were decided on Sunday, including U14 girls, where Wallingford native Rob Schmitt’s GPS Rhode Island team prevailed 3-2 over PSC Dynamo.

Arguably the biggest winner Sunday was the TWIST organizational structure. At the end of a hot and humid day, one of the referees had a medical episode that, at one point, rendered him unresponsive.

This happened at Choate around 5 p.m. A crew from Hunter’s Ambulance, stationed at the school for duration of the tournament, was immediately on the scene.

“Within a minute they were on him,” Rodriguez said. “Fortunately, he was just dehydrated. It was scary, though.

“It’s unreal the things we’ve had here over the years,” Rodriguez added. “You would think it’s just a soccer tournament, but really it’s not the first time EMS has had to go out and respond.

“Fortunately, we’re set up, communications-wise No. 1, for rapid response and, No. 2, we have on-site staff to respond to an emergency. I can’t thank Hunter’s enough.”