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This is Sarnen! Who are the Swiss NLA newcomers?

In our new ongoing series “This is Sarnen” we want to give you the opportunity to follow a Cinderella story for a whole season. Ad Astra Sarnen managed to promote to the NLA last season and is now the big underdog in the elite series of Switzerland. In our first episode, we want to give you a short introduction and a sports history lesson of the club.

Early history

The club was founded in 1989. One year later the first men’s team participated in the small field series, the first youth team in 1994. Ten years after the foundation, the club has more than 100 members, several men and women junior teams including a floorball school and also organized the first international games on their home grounds, which is also just a glimpse of how dedicated the whole organization of Sarnen is. The flagship team, the men’s team, constantly grew their performances, also profiting from their foreign players – one of the first was Peter Kozusnik in 2002, who also played a World Cup for Czech Republic.

In 2005 Ad Astra almost promoted to NLB but they lost the relegation series against the rising Floorball Thurgau. One year later, the women’s team managed to accomplish the promotion. They played in NLB for 4 years, before relegating to the third division again, where they played ever since. It took the men’s until 2012 to go to NLB, where they have been one of the top teams for the last few years.

The miracle season of 18/19

It started with an important development. The club opened their own brand-new training hall to provide more training times to every team. A luxury, that is indeed some elite-level stuff. The season started quite well, after the 7th round the only had lost two games, both against the teams from canton Ticino. One on penalties against Ticino Unihockey, the other one 3:4 against Verbano Gordola with former Czech superstar Ales Zalesny. After that… it just got better. All they did is win. 15 straight wins to go to the playoffs as the leader.

They choose to play against the 8th place, Floorball Fribourg. In the best-of-5 series, they won 3:1. Which is quite commanding but also showed that they are beatable. Next opponent: Unihockey Langenthal. ULA literally crushed the 3rd Place Floorball Thurgau in their quarterfinal series, so they really seemed to be a strong one. After three games, ULA had their first Match Point at home. They managed to win game three in Sarnen which put them in a 2:1 lead in the series. It took Ad Astra 57 Minutes to tie the game 4:4, in minute 67 – it was the first time they took the lead in the game – they also tied the series. With the momentum on their side, game 5 was no problem, so Sarnen went on the relegation series against the Kloten- Dietlikon Jets from NLA.

The crucial series

This best-of-seven series was just crazy. With strong fans on both sides, close games and a superb last game, it was everything a floorball heart could seek for. Surprisingly the first two games in Sarnen were quite one-sided. Ad Astra had won 8:3 and 8:5. The next two games also went to the home team, the Jets won 4:3 and 7:6, the fourth game they came back with a 4:0 closing period, scoring all goals in the last 5 minutes, the winning goal just 13 seconds away from overtime. The momentum was on the Jets side.

Ad Astra seemed to just don’t mind. Up 5:2, down 5:6, up 7:6 it went into overtime with the Jets scoring the last goal in the last minute – again. It took topscorer Robin Markström just 45 seconds to win the game and take the lead in the series again. Game 6 also went into OT, where Basil von Wyl scored a strong backhander and promoted Ad Astra Sarnen to the NLA. After the goal, the fans, led by the Fanclub AAS, went crazy and celebrated with their team, their idols, friends or family.

Also when the team arrived back home in Sarnen the party went on, you could literally feel pride of everyone involved.

So now, a few months later, the club is in the final preparation for their first NLA season which will start on Saturday 14 September at 18:30 against Uster and can be watched live for free.

Referring to the tale of Sparta they changed their new Slogan to “This is Sarnen” which will also be the title for our series. Let’s just hope, they don’t follow the example of Sparta and change the ending.

This article was written by Julian Rueger

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