Pam Pack falls to Vikings

Published 7:10 am Wednesday, October 29, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
JACKSONVILLE — Showing a never-say-die attitude, Bladimir Romero knocked the ball past the White Oak goalkeeper with just under two minutes remaining in the match. However, it was too little, too late as Washington fell in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A state soccer playoffs for the third straight year.
Mack Argyle tallied two goals and Matt Grantham scored another as the White Oak Vikings topped Washington, 3-1, on a frigid Tuesday evening at Viking Stadium.
The Pam Pack (12-7-1), the No. 2 seed from the Coastal Conference, was forced to play without a couple key members. Both Jimmy Hardison and Alex Thalman missed the playoff game.
White Oak (11-10-2), the No. 2 seed in the Mideastern Conference and a future conference foe of the Pam Pack, took a 1-0 lead with 12:20 to play in the first half. The Pack defense got a little lazy and Argyle took advantage, pushing the ball into an open net for the early lead.
Washington seemed poised to tie it a minute later, but a flurry in front of the White Oak net led to nothing productive for the Pack.
The Vikings took a 2-0 lead with 23 minutes left in the second half. Grantham came up with the ball in a cluster of players and was able to nudge it past Washington’s Steven Worsley.
An Argyle chip shot with six minutes to play, coming on a questionable call, gave White Oak a commanding a 3-0 lead.
The Pack pressed and finally found the back of the net with two minutes remaining. Romero, a sophomore, got Washington on the scoreboard to avoid the shutout.
While Kozuch wishes he were still playing, the Pack coach was proud of his team, which won seven of its final nine regular season games.
Kozuch is counting on an even better season next year.