Washington soccer team ready to get kicking|Opens season Monday at home vs. Edenton

Published 12:04 pm Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sports Editor

Jimmy Kozuch will have to get his team ready in a hurry.
Just over a week after tryouts, the Washington Pam Pack soccer coach will be leading his team into its first game of the season. The Pack, 12-7-1 last year, opens the season Monday at home against Edenton.
The season opener, which will be held at J.G. “Choppy” Wagner Stadium, begins at 5 p.m.
“It’s going to be really tough,” Kozuch said about getting his team prepared. “We had a lot of guys on vacation and stuff, but we’re bringing back seven or eight guys that played last year. Maybe we’ll get a little chemistry, but it’s going to take a while.”
The fourth-year coach lost a key member off last year’s team. John Lohman, who scored 17 goals and had 17 assists on his way to becoming a co-WDN Player of the Year, graduated.
However, the Pack does return some talent. That includes Bladimir Romero, the other half of the co-WDN Player of the Year. Romero led Washington with 31 goals, including 12 via penalty kicks, while adding 14 assists last year.
Other top players returning include defensive standout Hernan Perez, the always-hustling Jimmy Hardison and T.J. Crompton.
Kozuch is hoping his returning players can jell early to face the Aces. Washington lost one (2-1) and tied one (2-2) with Edenton last year.
Washington is back home Wednesday for a 7 p.m. match against New Bern. The Bears posted a pair of 2-1 victories last year.
“We’re hoping to do something against them, but it’s going to take some time,” Kozuch said. “We have to build some chemistry that we don’t have yet.”
The Pack will play in the Kill Devil Hills Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28-29. The field includes First Flight, A.C. Reynolds and Currituck.
“That’s a pretty big tournament,” Kozuch said. “First Flight is one of the 2-A powerhouses in the state and A.C. Reynolds is a 4-A powerhouse.
“There’s some great teams there. It should be a great experience. With a team like Jacksonville coming into our conference, we need to play really good teams in order to be ready for them. It will definitely help us out.”
Jacksonville, ranked No. 2 in the preseason poll, is new to the Class 3-A Coastal Conference.
“I think we’ll be ready for them,” Kozuch said. “We’re looking to give them a little run for their money.”
White Oak, which knocked Washington out the playoffs last year with a 3-1 victory, is also new to the conference. Jacksonville and White Oak replaced New Bern and J.H. Rose.
“We’re looking for some revenge against (White Oak),” Kozuch said. “They beat us in the playoffs last year.”
Kozuch, who led the team to a No. 2 seed in the Coastal Conference last year, is looking to build off last year’s success.
“The key this year is going to be to score some goals,” Kozuch said. “We scored about 70 goals last year. If we can score 70 goals this year, and have a little bit better defense than we had last year, we’ll be okay.
“We’re hoping to compete for the championship this year.”
JV Jamboree
Coach Ed Rodriguez and his Washington’s junior varsity soccer team will hold a jamboree on Saturday at J.G. “Choppy” Wagner Stadium. The event begins at 9:30 a.m.
The Pack will be joined by Northside and Southside.