Blazers able to hold onto early lead, win 3-1
BLAZER STADIUM, Oct. 14 -
Two early goals gave the boys' varsity soccer team (6-2-2) enough momentum to maintain authority on the field and trounce Walter Johnson (7-3), 3-1. Another strong win can be accredited to Blair's powerful midfield with all three goals coming from the middle.
The Blazers managed to quickly show their supremacy on the pitch, placing two balls in Walter Johnson's net within the first five minutes of play. The two goals and immediate possibility of a win were especially satisfying to the Blazers who had a score to settle with Walter Johnson. The Blazers lost to the Wildcats two seasons in a row, spoiling one of the best seasons in Blair's history in 2006.
The first goal came two minutes into the game from freshman midfielder Jorge Pacheco, who used his dominant left foot to fire a ball into the goal off a cross by senior midfielder co-captain Greg Kohn. Less than three minutes later, junior midfielder Erik Opsahl scored with an assist by senior midfielder Mikey Funes.
"No celebration, we have the whole game to play!" coach Adrian Baez yelled from the sideline to his field players who were reveling after their two quick goals. Baez wanted the team to maintain focus and take advantage of Blair's brisk lead. "They set it up for us to keep roaring like lions," Baez said of the goal scorers.
Baez was satisfied with the win, citing the extensive preparation the team made after two disappointingly close losses earlier in the season. "I spewed magma after the Sherwood game," Baez said. Blair lost to Sherwood 1-0 and Magruder 2-3 in overtime.
However, in this game, the Blazers played with the same confidence that led to their five earlier victories in the season. The midfield managed to control the entire field, participating in both offensive plays as well as defensive saves. In the 7th minute, Pocheco deflected a cross from the Wildcats that was headed for the goal. Funes used his quick feet to beat multiple Walter Johnson players and attempt a shot on goal early in the first half.
Senior goalkeeper Alexis Castillo has proven to be a vital asset to the team this season, demonstrating that once again during Tuesday's game. But despite a number of skillful saves, Castillo could not block a shot in the 33rd minute, conceding the Wildcats' only goal of the game. The Wildcat striker dribbled the ball up the field, beating the double team efforts of two Blair defenders, and placed the ball into the left corner of the goal. Unfazed, Castillo continued to stop the Wildcats' strong attempts on goal through the end of the half.
After halftime, Funes expanded the Blazers' lead by scoring off of a ball from senior defender Erick Hernandez in the 49th minute, bumping the score up to 3-1. Castillo continued to show his talent, stopping all attempts by Walter Johnson to score for the duration of the second half.
Strong defensive plays throughout the game also kept many balls out of the box. Freshman defender Dominic Ventimiglia used speed to steal the ball from the opposing team, personally sending the ball back to offense on multiple occasions.
After playing a solid game overall, Opsahl believed that the win was thanks to Blair's initial lead. "We put them away early," he said.
With two more games left in regular season, Opsahl wants to continue to see his team take command of the field well into postseason play offs. "I'm looking forward to playing with the same intensity that we've been playing with all season," he said.
The boys' varsity soccer team's next home game is on Oct. 16 against Wheaton at 7 p.m.
Editor's note: Greg Kohn is a sports editor for Silver Chips Online.
Jenna Bushnell. Jenna Bushnell likes sunshine and funfetti cupcakes. In her free time she enjoys excavating ancient Mayan temples, choreographing classic Broadway revivals, and smiling at strangers. For the right price, she will recite all of the words to "Rock Yo Hips" by Crime Mob. More »