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Altador Cup I
The news, hot off the press, from TNT themselves as they unravel their own coverage for Altador Cup I.
Team Haunted Woods - Date posted July 6th, 2006
Altador Cup! - And the winner is... Haunted Woods! It was a close game, but the Haunted Woods is victorious!
If you weren't sided with the Cup winners, don't worry! We're currently tallying everyone's scores, and we'll have prizes available early next week for all those who participated. (And a chance to win even MORE prizes in a day or two, so keep checking back!)
Congratulations to everyone and thanks for playing!
For weeks, the tension had been mounting - which team would be crowned champions of the first international edition of the Altador Cup tournament (and the first Altador Cup competition in over a thousand years)? Heading into the weekend, the Darigan Citadel and Haunted Woods were poised to square off in a match for the ages, pitting the Citadel's all-around ability against the Haunted Woods' stingy defence. Despite all the excitement leading up to the match, the championship game proved more than capable of living up to the hype, as the outcome remained in doubt until the last few seconds of the contest.
To everyone's surprise, the game began with a quick score by the Citadel's Tandrak Shaye. Fanetti, the Haunted Woods' goalkeeper, got a little sloppy with a pass to Chelo Binay, which Shaye came rushing in to intercept. In one sweeping motion, Tandrak caught the Yooyuball and sent a shot screaming back at the Meerca goalie, who was totally unprepared for the Gelert's sudden strike. The fans had hardly settled into their seats before Darigan was already up 1-0.
Rather than panic and compromise their defence by desperately trying to score and tie up the match, the Haunted Woods settled down and locked into their usual defensive stranglehold, keeping the Citadel's star scorer, Layton Vickles, from springing free and getting so much as a single shot on goal. The defensive stalemate continued on until Krell Vitor forced a fumble and, scooping up the ball, lobbed an outlet pass to Zo Junior, who'd broken in the direction of the Citadel's goal as soon as the ball popped loose. Striding just beyond the reach of Darigan star defender Tormo Frein, Zo made an incredible over-the-shoulder grab, followed by a vicious stutter step that sent the Citadel's net minder, Mungo Lifler, diving to his left. As soon as Lifler was airborne, the speedy little Korbat easily lobbed the Yooyuball into the net and tied the score at one.
Then, with the match still tied and less than thirty seconds left, the game's decisive sequence took place. In a desperate attempt to get possession, the Citadel sent a double team at Wan Dirx, forcing the rookie into an errant pass (meant for Zo Junior) that was picked off by Kep Bonnefie. The Buzz defender, with a clear path to the Haunted Woods' goal, broke for the opposing team's net in a dead sprint. Unbeknownst to Kep, however, Wan Dirx was quickly gaining ground from behind, closing in as he got ready to shoot. Just as Bonnefie reared back to fire on the Haunted Woods' goal, Dirx made a phenomenal diving leap, blocking the Buzz's shot from behind and sending the Yooyuball squirting away.
Bonnefie momentarily looked around, unsure about what had just happened, while Dirx scrambled to regain possession of the Yooyuball and dash in the other direction. By the time the Buzz figured out what had taken place, he was woefully out of position and unable to get back on defence in time. On the other side of the field, Dirx made the most of the momentary four-on-three advantage, dishing the Yooyuball to a briefly unguarded Chelo Binay, who in turn flicked the ball to Krell Vitor when his defender rushed over to keep the Chia from getting a wide-open shot. In one swift movement, Vitor took Binay's lob and sent a one-timer screaming past the reach of Darigan's goalie, giving the Haunted Woods a 2-1 lead as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Stunned by the turn of events they'd just witnessed, the crowd grew dead silent for a brief moment before erupting in a burst of delirious cheering. The referee's whistle could barely be heard in all the earsplitting chaos, but there was no mistaking what had just taken place - in a miraculous finish, the Haunted Woods had managed to score during the game's final moments and earn the right to take home the Altador Cup.
The Final Round
Last Chance - Date posted June 30th, 2006
Round Four of the Altador Cup starts today, pitting the Haunted Woods against the Darigan Citadel. The winner takes home the coveted Altador Cup trophy! Start playing!
Last Chance - Date posted June 29th, 2006
If you haven't signed up for the next round, today is your last chance! The finals begin tomorrow, and only one team can take home the Altador Cup!
Round Three Results
Semi-Finals Ended - Date posted June 27th, 2006
The Semifinals of this year's Altador Cup tournament have come to an end, and so has Roo Island's stunning streak of victories. To the surprise of many, Darigan defender Tormo "The Terror" Frein managed to hold his own in a one-on-one match-up against Roo Island's star forward Lilo Blumario, allowing only a single goal and an assist. On the other hand, the Citadel's Layton Vickles had another huge game, carrying the Darigan offense with a flurry of shots on goal that netminder Clutch Billaban was simply unable to consistently stop. Clutch, who'd lived up to his name during the tournament's first few rounds, finally reverted to his old soft-goal allowing ways, giving up far too many gimmies for the rest of the Roo Island offence to keep pace.
In the Altador Cup's championship game, the Darigan Citadel will be squaring off against the Haunted Woods, who had little trouble putting the squeeze on Krawk Island's offence. While Garven Hale gave a valiant effort in front of the net for Krawk Island, the handful of goals that he gave up were more than his teammates could muster against the suffocating defence of the Haunted Woods.
So then, both of the Semifinals' underdogs got quite a rude awakening in the next to last round, leaving the talented, well-rounded Darigan squad to face off against the Haunted Woods' defensive specialists. If one is to believe the old adage that "defence wins championships," then the smart money would have to be with the Yooyuballers from the Haunted Woods. Don't forget, though, that Darigan features more than just a potent offense they also enter the championship match boasting a pretty fair goalie and the hottest defender in the game right now. One thing's for certain this title game promises to be a match for the ages!
Four-Way Face-Off - Date posted June 23rd, 2006
Round Three has begun! Krawk Island faces off against the Haunted Woods, while the Roo Island team tests their skills against the Darigan Citadel. Who will make it to the finals?!
This weekend's Semifinal pairings have been announced, and it looks like Neopia's Yooyuball fans have got a fantastic set of games awaiting them. In one match, Krawk Island's scrappy swashbucklers will be squaring off against those dogged defenders from the Haunted Woods. In the other Semi, Roo Island's loveable longshots will face off against their greatest challenge yet ? the Darigan Citadel's roster of punishing players.
As far as storylines are concerned, one of the match-ups to watch will be between Roo Island's Lilo Blumario and the Darigan Citadel's Tormo "The Terror" Frein. Unlike Roo Island's previous opponents, who were forced to double and triple-team Blumario and leave his teammates with lots of wide-open scoring opportunities, the Citadel is relying on Frein (one of the game's top defenders) to be able to go one on one against Blumario. If Frein can successfully manage this assignment, you can all but expect Darigan to shut down Roo Island's other scorers, who aren't used to facing the kind of pressure the Citadel's going to try and put on them. On the other hand, if Frein is unequal to the task, it could be a long afternoon for Darigan's fans the last thing they want is for Blumario to run wild and light them up like a Christmas tree.
Taking a closer look at the other Semifinal, the big question seems to be whether Krawk Island's going to be able to score against the best defensive unit in the game today. During their Quarterfinal match against Mystery Island, Krawk Island managed to scrape by mostly on the strength of goalkeeper Garven Hale's top-notch netminding. However, "Dasher" Soley and company have yet to compete against a defence this stingy. Therefore, even though Zo Junior and the Haunted Woods usually struggle to score more than a handful of goals each game, the buccaneers from Krawk Island will probably have a hard time keeping pace unless they come up with an uncharacteristically strong offensive performance.
Round Three Sign-Ups
Last Four Teams! - Date posted June 20th, 2006
With the Quarterfinals having come to a close, the Altador Cup is now down to its last four teams. To the surprise of nearly everyone, the squad representing tiny Roo Island is among the final four teams that remain in contention to bring home the cup. They shocked the Neopian sporting public by following their upset of Tyrannia with an equally impressive win over the Lost Desert, as Fenny Vail stepped in to provide the firepower needed to overcome the Lost Desert's relentless hounding of star forward Lilo Blumario. Despite being double and triple-teamed for the entire game, Blumario was still able to create enough offensive opportunities for his teammates to give Roo Island a lead and move on to the Semifinals.
Taking a closer look at the inter-island match between the pirates of Krawk Island and the natives of Mystery Island, the key to this pairing was the phenomenal goaltending provided by Krawk Island's Garven Hale. The star netminder had a spectacular game (even by his lofty standards), pulling down a flurry of point-blank shots from Mystery Island's dynamic duo of Volgoth and Nix to preserve the win.
Fans who showed up to see Brightvale take on the Haunted Woods arrived with the expectation that they'd get a rugged, low-scoring defensive battle. Well, they turned out to be half right, as the Haunted Woods clamped down on the Brightvale offense and never let go. On the other side of the ball, however, Brightvale's underhanded tactics were no match for the Haunted Woods' crisp-passing and extremely well prepared offense, which carved up the Brightvale D like a heavenly roast turkey.
Rounding out the Quarterfinal's victors is the team from the Darigan Citadel, which gave King Skarl's squad a royal thumping on its way to the semifinals. Putting to rest any talk of their previous tendency to wilt in the face of a worthy opponent, the Citadel's Yooyuballers were led to victory by slippery forward Layton Vickles, who swerved and dodged through the Meridell defence to rack up a trio of goals (referred to in some circles as a "hat trick").
So, with the Altador Cup's Semifinals set to begin in a few days, talk of post-tournament awards has Lilo Blumario running away with the MVP voting (and Garven Hale coming in a distant second). As long as underdog Roo Island continues to win matches, Blumario will likely remain the odds-on favourite to be named Most Valuable Player. As far as selections for the All-Tournament Team go, Blumario would most likely be joined by Darigan's Layton Vickles and Krawk Island's "Dasher" Soley at forward, the Haunted Woods' Krell Vitor at defender, and Krawk Island's Hale at goalkeeper if the voting were held today. Honourable mentions would most likely be bestowed upon Mystery Island's Volgoth and the Haunted Wood's Zo Junior at forward, plus the Lost Desert's "Dirty" Navers at defender.
Round Two Ended
Results Tallied - Date posted June 19th, 2006
Round two is over and the results are being tallied! Winner announcements and signups for the next round will be coming shortly. In the meantime, you can hone your Yooyuball skills by playing a few practice rounds if you like.
The Quarterfinal Round - Date posted June 15th, 2006
The time has come for the Altador Cup's Quarterfinal Round to get underway! The second round's pairings have been announced . here is a closer look at the match ups:
- In a battle of tropical rivals, Krawk Island's second foe will be their next-door neighbours, Mystery Island. After the pasting they put on Faerieland in the knockout round, Mystery Island enters this match as a prohibitive favourite. Keep in mind, though, that Krawk Island has already sent home one heavily touted opponent (Altador), so what's to stop these underdogs from doing it again?
- Considering that they've already duked it out twice on the battlefield, tensions are sure to be high when the teams from Meridell and the Darigan Citadel face-off in the Quarterfinals. In the first round, Darigan looked impressive against a lesser opponent (Terror Mountain) while Meridell fought off a courageous comeback led by Maraqua's Elon Hughlis. Will Darigan's defenders be able to lock down Meridell's feisty trio of forwards, or will the Citadel buckle (yet again) in the face of some "real" competition?
- The third Quarterfinal match up features two of the toughest teams to score against in the tournament, Brightvale and the Haunted Woods. This contest won't be pretty, and there probably won't be a lot of scoring, but it'll almost certainly be a nail biter that goes down to very last second. It's a shame to think that, regardless of which team survives this match, the victor will most likely stagger into the next round completely exhausted and probably get bumped off.
- During their first round match against the Space Station, the Lost Desert was able to shut down the Virtupets offence by double-teaming their star forward, Keetra Deile. Tyrannia tried the same tactic against Roo Island.' Lilo Blumario in the knockout round, but their failure to stop him proved to be Tyrannia's undoing. So now, in the Quarterfinals, the Lost Desert's suffocating defenders will square off against Roo Island's star playmaker. Whichever side can manage a repeat of their success from Round One should emerge victorious and advance to the Semifinals.
Round Two Sign-Ups
Option To Switch Teams - Date posted June 14th, 2006
There are 8 teams left in the Altador Cup tournament and round 2 will begin in a few days. If your team was eliminated, fear not! You can select one of the remaining teams to continue on! (It's a good idea to do so... the more you play, the better your prizes.) ;) If you were on a team that advanced, it's a good idea to stay put, but you have the option to switch if you like! Beware of angry teammates, though!
Round One Results
Who Made It To The Next Round? - Date posted June 13th, 2006
The final whistle has blown and the last cloud of dust has settled. Eight teams remain in the Altador Cup tournament, while eight somber squads will now pack their belongings and begin the long trip home.
By far, the biggest surprise of the first round was Krawk Island's stunning upset of the tournament's Altadorian hosts. In the early going, the Altadorians showed no ill effects from their thousand-year layoff, staggering the swashbucklers with a dizzying display of crisp passes and mind-bending shots. As pirates are wont to do, however, the Krawk Islanders weathered the storm and found their sea legs in time for a ferocious comeback. The game's deciding score was a brilliant goal by Krawk Island's "Dasher" Soley, who sent a one-timer sailing past the grasp of Altador's diving goalie after curling around a screen and receiving a perfect pass from defender Nitri Cassale. Altador attempted to mount a final rally as time ran out, but netminder Garvin Hale easily preserved the win with a routine save.
Taking a look at the other results from the knockout round:
- Faerieland's trio of undersized forwards were no match for the brute strength of Mystery Island's Volgoth. The mighty Mynci blasted through Faerieland's feeble defensive attempts and led the islanders to a surprisingly lopsided win.
- Despite a brave effort from Helmo Timm, Kiko Lake's anemic offense was unable to generate much of an attack against Brightvale's suffocating defence. Though disappointed by the loss, many of Kiko Lake's fans said they were thankful that Timm was able to play the whole game without suffering any further injuries (and promised that they'd be back, better than ever, next year!).
- Darigan's defenders relentlessly pounded their counterparts from Terror Mountain, breaking their spirit early in the match and making them look unusually disorganised (even by Terror Mountain standards) the rest of the way. It didn't take long for this match to turn into a rout, and once it did, it was obvious that Terror Mountain's players had given up and were simply "mailing this one in."
- The closest, most hard-fought match of the first round took place between Kreludor and the Haunted Woods. Despite coming into this contest as serious underdogs, the Kreludor squad showed no fear as they chipped away at one of the tournament's most vaunted defences. Kreludor managed to stay in the game till the very end, when a breakaway goal by Zo Junior sealed the victory for the Haunted Woods.
- In squaring off against the Lost Desert, the Space Station's fate was sealed when none of their other offensive players were able to step up and make the Lost Desert pay for double-teaming Keetra Deile. With the opposition's star forward neutralised, scores by Azar and Cayle proved to be more than enough firepower for the Lost Desert to earn the win.
- Meridell took an early lead in this fairly high-scoring affair, as Maraqua's defenders were totally outclassed by King Skarl's trio of speedy forwards. Elon Hughlis single-handedly got the Maraquans back in the game, though, despite being double and triple teamed for the entire match. In the end Hughlis's heroic effort fell short, though, as he was simply unable to keep pace with the Meridellian arsenal all by himself.
- The second biggest surprise of the knockout round was how Roo Island was able to overcome Tyrannia's talented defence and sneak away with a victory. Time after time, forward Lilo Blumario would either draw a double team and then pass to his unguarded teammate (who, more often than not, made the most of their scoring opportunity) or, facing only single coverage, blow past his defender for a high percentage shot on goal.
So, now that the first round has drawn to a close, the early speculation surrounding which player might win the tournament's Most Valuable Player award has centred on forwards Lilo Blumario (Roo Island), "Dasher" Soley (Krawk Island), and Volgoth (Mystery Island). That being said, any player whose team fails to advance beyond the second round (no matter how good they've been) should hardly expect to hear their name called when the post-tournament accolades are handed out....
First Round Is Here! - Date posted June 9th, 2006
At last, the day everyone's been waiting for has arrived, as the first round matches of the Altador Cup tournament are set to get underway. Taking a moment to analyse the brackets, there are a few matchups that promise to provide plenty of fireworks during the early going. For example, in a battle that's being billed as "The Moon vs. The Goons," those creepy competitors from the Haunted Woods are squaring off against Kreludor's scrappy squad of relentless battlers. While there's no telling which side shall emerge victorious in this torrid test of wills, the one thing you can be sure of is that it'll certainly be entertaining.
Another major storyline that's emerging just before the start of the tournament's knockout round is the pairing of Brightvale and Kiko Lake. As mentioned in the last report, Kiko Lake has suffered from a recent string of injuries that have left the team on the verge of collapse. With recovering star forward Helmo Timm set to make her return to the lineup, Kiko Lake fans must've been devastated to learn that they'll be facing the dreaded Brightvale squad in Round One. Brightvale, notorious for their use of roughhouse tactics, will almost certainly try to take a cheap shot at Timm and put her back on the sidelines for good. Will she be able to answer the challenge and lead Kiko Lake to an unlikely victory, or will the bruisers from Brightvale simply be too much?
Good and Bad News
Injuries Strike! - Date posted June 7th, 2006
In a stunning turn of events, Kiko Lake's Holbie Pinnock suffered a terrible injury around 4:30 this afternoon. Pinnock, an inexperienced young forward, was only added to the lineup after starter Helmo Timm had, herself, gone down with an injury around the end of league matches. Apparently, Pinnock's injury occurred when a strap on the sling of Kiko Lake's Relle Felson broke just as he was shooting the ball. The broken strap caused the Jetsam's sling to go hurling into the air, striking young Pinnock in the back of the head and sending him sprawling to the ground. Tests conducted in the trainer's room revealed that Pinnock was suffering from nausea, blurred vision, and recurring headaches, sidelining him for the foreseeable future.
With her team facing the prospect of having to play shorthanded for the rest of the tournament (almost certainly ending their hopes of winning the Altador Cup), forward Helmo Timm pleaded with the team doctor and coaching staff for a shot at returning ahead of schedule. Despite their initial protests, the brave Peophin finally convinced Kiko Lake's staff to give her a chance. Sporting a cast on her mending right foreleg, Timm ran through some light contact drills and showed an encouraging lack of hesitation in forechecking and going after loose balls. Helmo only has a few practices left to convince the team that she's ready to join the lineup for Kiko Lake's first round match this weekend. As of this writing, though, her chances of getting the start are certainly looking better than anyone would've expected this time last week.
Yooyuball Eagerly Awaited - Date posted June 2nd, 2006
The scene is Altador Colosseum, where the most diehard Yooyuball fans in Neopia have gathered on the grounds outside the stadium to witness the arrival of their favourite teams. The perimeter is lined by tent clusters and makeshift campfires where all sorts of tasty foods are being roasted up and passed around for everyone to enjoy. Although a spirited chant celebrating one team or another will rise up from time to time, the teams' fans have been on their best behaviour, with no incidences of hooliganism reported. "This is shaping up to be such a glorious event - we'd all hate to see it brought down by that sort of business," said one fan, a Kreludan supporter who'd made the long trek all the way from Neopia's moon.
Much to the fans' delight, the teams began turning up around ten o'clock this morning. Each squad is getting one hour inside the colosseum to conduct a practice session every other day until the tournament begins. Eight teams (Altador, Brightvale, Darigan Citadel, Faerieland, Haunted Woods, Kiko Lake, Krawk Island, and Kreludor) got their turns today and the other eight (Lost Desert, Maraqua, Meridell, Mystery Island, Roo Island, Terror Mountain, Tyrannia, Virtupets) will hold practices tomorrow. After their practices, most of the teams' players have been stopping by for a few minutes to meet with fans and sign autographs outside the colosseum. "I've been camped out here for a couple of days now, but getting to meet my beloved Darigan squad has made it well worth the trouble," one of the Citadel's fans proclaimed. "Why, I even got an autograph from Kep Bonnefie... she normally doesn't sign for anyone!"