Washington girls soccer wins home opener over Edenton Holmes

Published 8:35 pm Wednesday, March 4, 2015

DAVID CUCCHIARA | DAILY NEWS THREEPEAT: Pam Pack striker Sydney Edwards scored a hat trick in Washington’s opener versus Edenton Holmes.

THREEPEAT: Pam Pack striker Sydney Edwards scored a hat trick in Washington’s opener versus Edenton Holmes.

It’s been years, possibly decades since a Pam Pack varsity team stepped onto Kugler Field for a competitive match. But on Wednesday, for the first time since walking off of Dail Soccer Field at N.C. State with NCHSAA state runner-up medals, the Washington girls’ soccer team stepped back between the lines, the timeworn Pam Pack pitch once home to Choppy Wagner, looking to defend the team’s eastern regional title.

And worn it was. Chunks of dead grass, unruly patches of dirt, narrow sidelines and dimmed lighting made for a rather uncomfortable start to the season for the most successful girls team of 2014 — a necessary sacrifice until a battle tested Wagner Field is suitable to be played on again. In the end, however, the temporary home produced a winning product, as Washington rolled over Edenton Holmes, 6-1, to pick up its first win of the 2015 season.

“It’s a good first game for a lot of the younger guys and we were able to play a lot of people in positions they haven’t played before … It’s a good start, but we have a long way to go,” said head coach Ed Rodriguez.

After a dazzling freshman season last year in the midfield, sophomore speedster Sydney Edwards made her debut at striker. And what a memorable debut it was.

Edwards, the recipient of a barrage of through balls throughout the night, finished with three goals and two cramps that sidelined her for a good portion of the second half. She worked in unison with freshman forward Sydney Walker, who had a quiet first game in the Pam Pack’s signature white, but limited errors and drew defenders away from Edwards, whose could have expanded on her hat trick if not for one misplaced chunk of grass that caught her cleat 25 minutes into the game.

“Obviously as you can see, the move to forward for Sydney Edwards was a smart one. She could have easily had five or six tonight,” Rodriguez said. ‘They were giving (the through ball) to us, so we were taking it. Other teams may not give it to us, so we need to work on passing the ball around. People playing new positions, it’s going to take a little time to adjust.”

Among the new faces were 10 freshmen, most of whom saw significant playing time in the second half. It’s a notable accomplishment for a team that fielded just 10 players in the season opener against J.H. Rose last year — a 1-0 loss. On top of Walker, other rookies like Neftali Torres, Samantha Sheppard and Alaina Donadio made their presence known in the midfield and back line.

“It feels great. It’s a new situation for me,” Rodriguez said. “It’s been a while since we’ve been this deep. A lot of the freshmen did good things tonight.”


In all, Washington used its excess of speed up front to get behind the Aces’ defenders and get open looks on net. Senior and Wofford commit Caitlyn Scott notched five of the Pam Pack’s 14 shots in the first half, one being a sprint from midfield that resulted in a well-timed strike to the left of the outstretched hand of keeper Kate Warren.

In her first game on varsity, junior Alyssa Rodriguez also found herself represented in the final goal tally. After a scrum in front of the net, Rodriguez saw an opening and one-timed it past Warren in the 20th minute — the final goal of the first half for Washington.

With about seven minutes left, senior midfielder Warner Little scored the sixth and final goal for the Pam Pack on a blast from the edge of the box that found the top left corner.

“When she gets on, she has a quick release and a real strong shot. We just have to give her more opportunities to get shots off,” Rodriguez said.

Washington will travel to Jacksonville on Friday to take on Lincoln Charter in the Battle of the Beach Tournament. They return to Jacksonville on Saturday to face Topsail.