Pam Pack soccer powers past Aces|Washington puts on offensive display

Published 12:41 pm Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Staff Writer

The Washington Pam Pack boys’ soccer team passed its first test of the season Monday night at J.G. “Choppy” Wagner Stadium, beating Edenton 4-2.
The Pam Pack took an early lead on the Class 2-A Aces, and never relented. Despite a sloppy start by both clubs, in which players looked out of sync with each other, Washington jumped on the board with a long boot by midfielder Sutton Thomas. Thomas received the ball at the center of the field just outside the penalty box, and bent the ball by a diving Edenton goalie at the 35 minute mark in the first half for Washington’s first score of the season.
Pam Pack senior star forward Vladimir Romero followed Thomas’ score with a breakaway goal of his own at the 25 minute mark. Romero received the ball in stride from a Pam Pack defender, raced down the far sideline with an Edenton defender on each side before eluding the two Aces and knocking the ball in for a 2-0 Washington lead.
The two-goal lead would hold up well into the second half, until the Aces finally made their move.
After a tremendous save by the Edenton goalie on another strong shot by Romero, forward Kyle Bishop took the ball for the Aces and was off to the races. Bishop hooked the ball by the Washington goalie from inside the penalty box at the 23 minute mark in the second for Edenton’s first score.
With the Aces closing in on the lead despite Washington’s dominating time of possession on offense, the Pam Pack really put on the pressure.
“We did play better in the second half,” said Pam Pack head coach Jimmy Kozuch. “We passed the ball around a little bit and had better communication.”
In the most skilled sequence of the night, Washington senior forward Jimmy Hardison took the ball up the near sideline, dished the ball to Romero in the middle, who caught the pass on his chest and dumped the ball to a streaking T.J. Crompton. Crompton snuck the ball past the Edenton goalie for a 3-1 lead at the 15 minute mark in the second.
Edenton came right back with a score from forward Van Johnson, to put the game at 3-2, before Washington sunk the Aces with a well-earned goal by Hardison at the 4:30 mark in the second.
Hardison was happy to get on the board in the first game.
“It felt really good,” Hardison said. “‘Vladdy’ had the ball in the corner, and when he passed it to me I knew I had it.”
Hardison and Romero, who have been playing ball together since rec league, form quite the formidable forward tandem, according to Kozuch.
“They work pretty good (together),” Kozuch said. “Jimmy’s got a great shot and he’s really fast, and ‘Vladdy’ is just very, very skillful. The two of them, they feed off each other, they help each other out and correct each other’s mistakes.”
Romero, the co-WDN Player of the Year last season after scoring 31 goals, including 12 via penalty kicks, and adding 14 assists, was pleased with his team’s effort.
“We can beat the best, or at least compete,” he said.
With a matchup against Coastal Conference powerhouse New Bern looming on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Wagner Stadium, Kozuch wants to see his players work better together on the field.
“When we communicate, the guys seem to be on point with their passing,” Kozuch said. “That’s going to be the key to our whole season.”