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Altador Cup II
The news, hot off the press, from TNT themselves as they unravel their own coverage for Altador Cup II.
Darigan Citadel, Roo Island and Shenkuu - Date posted July 9th, 2007
The dust has finally settled, and another epic edition of the Altador Cup tournament has come to a close. The Darigan Citadel, having lost in last year's final, simply would not be denied this time around as they turned back a gallant effort by Roo Island for the win.
The championship game started out as a defensive struggle, with Roo Island unveiling a 1-3-1 zone trap that thoroughly confused the Citadel's offense. The zone forced Darigan into far too many long, loping passes that Roo Island was able to pick off and quickly take downfield. These turnovers allowed the islanders to build a slight lead in the early going, but it would not last.
The downside of Roo Island's trapping zone was that, when Darigan was able to beat it and find an open player along the perimeter, the shooter would often have a clear (albeit distant) shot at the goal. As Darigan familiarised themselves with the trap, these shot opportunities came more frequently and at closer distances, eventually forcing Roo Island back into a standard man-to-man formation. By the time their trap had been beaten, the Roo Islanders were far too fatigued to keep up with the Darigan scoring attack, allowing the Citadel to cruise to a decisive win.
Unfortunately for Lilo Blumario & Co., their fans were unable to fare any better. The Rooligans took a decisive loss in the noisemaking contest and a narrow defeat in the slushie slinging category, giving the Darigan Citadel a clean sweep in the finals.
As for the match-up between the Round Robin's third- and fourth-place finishers, the surprising squad from Shenkuu continued to steamroll past their opponents, giving the crew from Krawk Island a sound thrashing to finish third overall in this year's competition. Having exceeded everyone's expectations in their first appearance at the Altador Cup tournament, one would have to imagine that Shenkuu will be among the odds-on favourites to contend for next year's title.
The Finals Have Begun!
The Four Finalists Determined - Date posted July 6th, 2007
At long last, after a month of Round Robin play, the tournament's four finalists have been determined. In the battle for third place, Shenkuu's surprising squad will be squaring off against the swashbucklers from Krawk Island, while the championship match will feature Roo Island's team going up against the mighty Darigan Citadel.
The finals will stretch over a 4-day span to ensure that all sides have sufficient time to prove they have the endurance and support to prevail. This means that playing well on only one day will not be enough this time around. Once the dust settles, the Altador Cup Committee will review all the scores and announce the new Altador Cup champions on Monday!
This year's big story has been the stunning late charge by Shenkuu, which not only overcame low expectations for their first cup appearance, but have also won nine of their last ten Yooyuball matches (including quality victories over Mystery Island and Krawk Island, plus a hard-fought tie against the Darigan Citadel). Grelinek and Foltaggio have been a brilliant scoring tandem in this year's tourney, but after their loss to Shenkuu on the 27th of last month, you can bet that Garven Hale and the squad from Krawk Island are not going down without a fight.
In the battle to take home the championship, last year's runners up from the Darigan Citadel will be facing off against those fierce upstarts from tiny Roo Island. The two teams split their previous Yooyuball matches in the tournament, so this one could really go either way. Also worth mentioning is the fact that, while Rooligans are quick to point out the Citadel's less than stellar slushie slinging skills, Darigan's defenders are equally fast about touting their superior noisemaking talent. Therefore, by all accounts, this is one match that should go down to the wire. May the best team win!
The Round Robin Has Ended
Eliminations - Date posted July 5th, 2007
Now that the Round Robin has ended, we move onto the final championship round, where the winner of Altador Cup will be decided. However, if your team was eliminated, that doesn't mean the Altador Cup is over for you. You can still affect the outcome.
While remaining members of their original teams, members of eliminated teams will be permitted to sign up as supporters for one of the 4 finalists in the Altador Cup. After becoming a supporter for one of the 4 finalists, your game scores will contribute toward the finalist's final score. Make sure to pick the team you want to see win!
Until the finalists have been officially announced by the Altador Cup Committee, the Colosseum will be closed and all sixteen Yooyuball teams will enjoy a well-earned rest. In the meantime, Yooyuball will still be available in practice mode, but Slushie Slinger and Make Some Noise will be temporarily unavailable.
Once the finalists are announced, the final four days of the competition, and ultimately the championship, will rest in your hands! Good luck to everyone!
Fate Smiles On Faerieland - Date posted July 3rd, 2007
Heretofore, Faerieland's fans had proven themselves to be surprisingly good at slinging slushies, managing to keep from losing more than half of their matches. To a far lesser extent, they'd even shown an occasional willingness to give a few cheers for their team, racking up points from the tournament's other secondary activity. It was on the field of play, however, where Faerieland's Yooyuball team had completely failed them.
After nearly four weeks of play, though, fate finally smiled upon the Faerieland squad and they broke through to earn their first victory. It came against Kiko Lake, who'd soundly defeated them nearly two weeks ago. After a few strong rallies in the early going led by Kiko Lake's Helmo Timm, the match's turning point came when young defender Elbin Towse ran down forward Moni Vyshan on a breakaway scoring opportunity and blocked Vyshan's shot at the last moment.
From that point on, Faerieland's players seemed as though they'd been infused with a renewed sense of energy, eventually overtaking Kiko Lake with a go-ahead goal by Babolino. A frantic rush at the end by Kiko Lake nearly resulted in a tie but, fortunately for Faerieland, time ran out on their opponents and the victory was theirs. To make the win even sweeter, Faerieland even managed to serve up enough slushies to tack on a few points in that category, too. Huzzah!
Tyrannia vs. Haunted Woods
Spooky or Forsaken? - Date posted June 28th, 2007
It was a rumble to be remembered when Tyrannia's "Forsaken Five" met up with the foreboding Haunted Woods team. The reigning defending champs have been solid so far, but the tight-knit Tyrannian team has only shown improvement since last year. Though the players from Haunted Woods were heavily favoured to win this match, no one doubted the cave dwellers could always pull off an upset.
Forward Wila Benne got things off to a hopeful start for Tyrannia, slipping a couple of quick goals past goalkeeper Fanetti. From there, however, the woodland team gathered up their concentration and pulled together their legendary defense. As the rest of his team guarded their goal viciously, forward Zo Junior zipped through the Tyrannian lines with amazing speed and managed to give the Haunted Woods a slight lead at the halfway point in the game.
During the second half, the sporty spooks only continued to build on their momentum, scoring one goal after another to the delight of their screaming fans. The five Tyrannians made the most of their legendary teamwork, working together to keep the score close. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough. As the seconds ticked away towards the end, newcomer Autrey Fulse executed a sneaky steal of the Yooyuball and swiftly passed it to Zo Junior, who slammed it in for a final resounding goal as the whistle drew the match to a close.
The Haunted Woods crowd went wild, with their noise-making efforts ultimately earning them a victory in the Make Some Noise competition, as well. Though the Tyrannian supporters made more of an effort serving slushies, they again fell short in the end, leaving the Haunted Woods to carry off an impressive triple victory and remain in contention for the finals.
Kiko Lake vs. Maraqua
Something To Prove - Date posted June 26th, 2007
Monday's match-up with the aquatic teams of Kiko Lake and Maraqua was bound to make a splash, as the scrappy underdogs of Kiko Lake attempted to pull themselves out of the bottom of the standings with renewed energy on the field. Having only won one of their twenty Yooyuball match-ups, these lake-dwellers had something to prove.
Unfortunately, their enthusiasm had difficulty holding up against the tough defensive line-up of Maraqua. Again and again, the Kiko Lake forwards attempted to sneak a shot into the goal, but the three Maraquan defenders rebuffed them at nearly every turn. Any shots that managed to get past the defensive line were almost immediately blocked by goalkeeper Tonie Plessix. Though he wasn't quick enough to get all of them, the defensive wall was still enough to make things extremely frustrating for the Kiko Lake team.
Those few goals weren't enough to faze Elon Hughlis, either. Taking advantage of the opposing team's frustration, the Maraquan forward sent a relentless tidal wave of shots towards the Kiko Lake goal all throughout the game, giving the Maraquans a hefty lead as the match drew to a close. Somewhat dampened by their team's struggling performance, fan enthusiasm for Kiko Lake was not enough to come close to the Maraquans' cheering in Make Some Noise, and the Kiko Lake supporters were unable to serve more slushies than their Maraquan counterparts. In the end, it was a resounding victory for King Kelpbeard's favourite team, both on the field and in the side competitions.
Round Robin Reaches Halfway Point
Who Will Emerge Victorious? - Date posted June 22nd, 2007
As the Altador Cup tournament reaches the midway point of the Round Robin, four teams have pulled ahead to the top of the standings. Roo Island players Lilo Blumario and Jair Tollet have lived up to expectations and helped their scrappy team solidify their position as the tournament heads into the second half of the Round Robin. These hardy island players have not lost a single Yooyuball match yet, winning fifteen of their seventeen games and coming to a draw in the other two. In the meantime, the tough team from Darigan Citadel steadily maintains their position as the favourite, while the nearly-impenetrable defense of Krawk Island continues to help the buccaneers pull ahead of their competition.
The solid playing of the Lost Desert squad, as well as the amazing support they've received in the tournament's two side competitions, has helped these desert wanderers find a place on the leader board. However, it's hardly a time for anyone to let their guard down on the field. Despite losing one of their teammates to injury, the Mystery Island team is close behind, hungering for one of the top spots.
In fact, no team is out of contention yet. The battle for the coveted Cup is still open to anyone, though the struggling teams of Kiko Lake, Virtupets, and Faerieland will have to redouble their efforts if they want a chance of staying in the running. As the second half of the Round Robin kicks off, fans wait in anticipation. Which teams will succeed in their bid for those desired spots in the finals?
Mystery Island Injury Brings In New Player
Koric Replaced - Date posted June 20th, 2007
As one would expect, Tuesday's match-up wasn't much of a contest, with Mystery Island's forwards riddling Meridell netminder Sir Pollonaire Friedl with a flurry of shots on goal that could not be denied. Faster than a Mystery Island fan could say Bubbling Kraku Thickshake, the islanders had posted a lead that even a diehard Meridell fan like King Skarl would've considered insurmountable.
The fact that Mystery Island had such a huge lead made what happened next even more remarkable. Rather than pulling the team's lone starting defender and putting in a substitute, the islanders elected to leave Maital Koric in the game (despite Koric's recent requests to skip practice so he could rest a nagging injury).
As a result, just as the game was reaching its midway point, Koric crumpled to the ground, clutching his leg. The defender was helped off the field and immediately whisked away to the nearest medical facility. Vela Binal, a promising yet inexperienced young defender, was called in to finish out the match, which Mystery Island went on to win handily. After some preliminary testing, the worst fears of Mystery Island's fans were realized: Koric's injury was announced to be so severe that he'd miss the rest of the tournament.
So now, as Mystery Island fights for a spot in this year's final matches, it appears as though they'll have to rely on the talented yet untested Binal to keep shooters off of goaltender Yaniq Avaan. Will Koric's injury ruin Mystery Island's chances of winning the Altador Cup, or could Binal's addition to the lineup be a blessing in disguise that propels the young Lenny to stardom?
Brightvale vs. Virtupets
Evenly Matched Teams - Date posted June 15th, 2007
Despite lacking the level of anticipation of this week's higher-profile matches, Thursday's contest between Brightvale and the Virtupets Space Station pitted a pair of evenly-matched squads against each other. Which would prevail?
The game was a hard-fought stalemate in the early going, with neither side giving an inch. Brightvale's aggressive (and no-longer-so-surprisingly clean) style made gradual progress in wearing down their Space Station opponents, while Virtupets' arsenal of elaborate offensive sets occasionally flustered King Hagan's crew and created quality scoring chances. Goals were few and far between, with the score dead even as the game reached its midway point.
From then on, however, the fatigue of the Space Station's players became far more noticeable. Mental mistakes increased in frequency, defenders lost a step or two on their rotations, and Brightvale pulled further and further ahead. Rather than mounting a comeback, the Virtupets players struggled just to keep the match close. In the end, despite a valiant effort by Keetra Deile and her Space Station teammates, the Brightvale squad pulled away to post an impressive victory.
The tournament's auxiliary competitions, on the other hand, were far less competitive, with Brightvale's followers holding a decided advantage in slushie serving and noise making throughout the day. So then, despite a thrilling Yooyuball contest in the Altador Coliseum, when the smoke cleared this pairing resulted in an across-the-board win for the Brightvale team and their fans.
Krawk Island vs. Darigan Citadel
Most Anticipated Match - Date posted June 12th, 2007
It was, in all likelihood, the most anticipated match-up of the Double Round Robin phase of this year's tournament: Krawk Island -- undefeated on the Yooyuball field and the overall leaders thus far -- squared off against the Darigan Citadel, last year's runner-up and the odds-on favourite to win it all going into this year's tournament. Who would win this pairing of Yooyuball powerhouses and gain an early upper-hand in vying for this year's championship?
The Citadel came out with a blistering offensive attack, sending a flurry of shots at Krawk Island goaltender Garven Hale. Though Hale bravely turned away nearly all of Darigan's volleys, the onslaught was simply too much, and as a result a handful of shots managed to slip through. On the opposite end of the field, Krawk Island's creative use of passing and offensive sets created enough scoring opportunities for them to stay within reach. The islanders, however, never quite managed to come up with the energy needed to make a final push and take the lead. In the closing moments of the match, the Darigan squad reached deep down and added a few late scores to pull away and secure the victory.
As impressive as the Citadel has been on the playing field (winning six of their seven match-ups) they've been far less formidable in the tournament's other two aspects. Today was no different, as the rowdy buccaneers from Krawk Island slung more slushies than their foes from the floating fortress, and raised enough of a racket to come away with a draw in the noise-making competition.
So, in the end, it wasn't a total loss for Krawk Island and their swashbuckling spectators; not only did they manage to come away with a few points and keep their place atop the leaderboard, but they could also take heart in knowing that another chance to avenge their loss to the Citadel lies in their future.
Where Is Team Kreludor?
Statement From Derlyn Fonnet - Date posted June 8th, 2007
From a statement released by Derlyn Fonnet, the Left Defender of the Kreludor Yooyuball team, on behalf of Team Kreludor:
"As you may have noticed by now, Team Kreludor is not one of the participants in this year's Altador Cup. This is due to a malfunction with our training centre's gravity control that went unnoticed; it seems that we have spent the better part of this past year training in gravity that is weaker than that of Neopia. For this reason, it would not be safe for us to compete, due to insufficient bone and muscle density. Rest assured that the problem has been fixed. It is not known, however, whether the incident was a case of simple mechanical failure or the result of sabotage by disgruntled factions here on Kreludor."
"We will continue our training in hopes of returning to form next year, but I'm afraid it would be impossible for us to participate in this year's tournament. We'd like to thank everyone who has supported us in the past and all of our fans both on Kreludor and in Neopia. Thank you."
The Altador Cup Is Back!
Changes To Tournament Structure and New Team Shenkuu - Date posted June 2nd, 2007
Once again the time has come for that most beloved of Neopian sporting activities - the Altador Cup! When we last checked in with the world's greatest Yooyuballers, the Haunted Woods had just pulled off a thrilling victory over the Darigan Citadel. Instead of resting on their laurels, however, both teams have made key roster changes, which they feel will vault them into being odds-on favourites to take home the Cup. The Citadel has elected to bench last year's goalie Mungo Lifler and start brilliant new netminder Reshar Collifey, while the Haunted Woods has plugged in bone-crunching defender Autry Fulse. Could either of these moves provide the edge that these teams need to reach the top, or could such adjustments have the opposite effect and backfire in their faces?
Those aren't the only changes you'll notice out on the playing field, though. In addition to a few free-agent signings and the arrival of some promising rookies, an entirely new team has come down from the mountains of Shenkuu to participate in the tournament. The sport itself has even undergone a bit of an alteration, with three new kinds of Yooyuball (Normal, Clockwork, and Darigan) coming into play for the very first time. Off the field, you'll find two new ways of lending support to your favourite Yooyuball squad, so sideline sitters no longer have any excuse for not participating.
What are you waiting for, then? Pick a side and get in on the action!