Blair gives Bulldogs a run for their money; lose 3-2
Sept. 25, BLAZER STADIUM -
The boys' junior varsity soccer team lost to Churchill 3-2 yesterday. Yet despite the team's defeat at the hands of the notorious Bulldogs, the Blazers fought hard and passionately, showing significant improvement since their Sept. 11 game against the Wheaton Knights. Last year, the only game the Blazers lost was the one against the undefeated Churchill. The Bulldogs managed three goals over Blair's two, the Blazers sticking it out through injuries and Churchill's reckless tactics.
The game began with coaches Marc Grossman and Howard Kohn urging the Blazers to spread the field and play an aggressive offense. The Blazers opened the game with a solid defense, and defender Eliot Gold foiled a number of Churchill's enterprising attempts at scoring. Forward Wayne Henderson was struck down and injured but continued to play after resting up on the sideline, although he had problems with one of his legs thereafter.
Midfielder Hamid Marroquin scored the first goal of the game for Blair with 11 minutes remaining in the first half. Grossman encouraged his players to "keep up the intensity." At that point, the Bulldogs decided to take the gloves off, scoring two minutes later and knocking over goalie Tomas Deza, a foul that was called late by the referee. The Bulldogs also pushed one of their defenders forward, a risky move that put Blair's defense at a disadvantage. With less than two minutes remaining in the first half, the Bulldogs scored yet again leaving the score at 2-1.
After Grossman and Kohn had implored the team not to give up the fight, the second half began explosively. Defender Michael Mozer thwarted an early attempt at Blair's goal by Churchill but the Bulldogs managed another score after a corner kick, bringing the score to a grim 3-1, with Churchill leading. "Mentally, our guys are tough. It's not easy to endure goals just before and after the half."
The Bulldogs charged again, their strategy appearing to be simple relentlessness, but Mozer stopped their efforts a second time. Henderson was brutally fouled again in the second half but he maintained a stiff upper lip and kept playing as hard as ever.
The Blazers were having trouble getting across the midline in the second half, so Aaron Baldwin replaced Mozer, and Henderson, his injury giving him problems, forced himself off the field and was replaced by Greg Vogel. Blair got back into the game with renewed energy, with the Blazers barely missing goals on a number of opportunities, including one that began with a corner kick and another fired from a distance.
With Blair still looking for something to switch the momentum of the game, the Blazers ignited their offense, successfully keeping the ball up field for much of the second half, Henderson continuing to suffer beatings from Churchill's players after re-entering the game. The Blazers came extremely close to scoring a goal when Churchill's goalie missed the ball and a Bulldog defender only just managed to kick the ball out of the box to disqualify it as a goal. Even the referee seemed to have trouble deciding whether or not to count it as a goal.
After a brief outburst of offense from Churchill, the Blazers continued to fight, refusing to give up and trying to speed up the pace of the game. Frank Cubas scored the last goal of the game for Blair with just seconds remaining on a penalty kick after a foul inside the box, leaving the score at 3-2 for Churchill.
The Blazers' coaches were proud of the team despite the loss, "Until last week Churchill hadn't given up a goal," said Kohn, "We scored more against Churchill than other teams."
"The offense was good and defensively this is the best they've played yet," said Grossman.
Co-captain Eliot Gold knew the team had played well but he was disappointed with the loss. "We wanted to win," he said.
Blair's next game is tonight at home against Quince Orchard at 7 p.m.
Gus Woods. William "Gus" Woods is a junior who enjoys, far more than anything else, tiddlywinks tournaments and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" re-runs. He is a great fan of any and all music and enjoys playing the piano in his spare time. He belongs, literally belongs, … More »