Pam Pack confident entering conference play

Published 6:21 pm Thursday, September 22, 2016

Washington soccer entered this season facing the loss of Kyle Hodges, Feddy Jimenez, Holt McKeithan and others. Coach Jim Kozuch knew that his team would be stout on defense and had a pretty good idea of how the midfield would be. What he didn’t know was where the scoring would come from.

Well, the Pam Pack has had an incredible start in most facets of the game. The boys are 9-0 heading into 2-A Eastern Plains Conference play. The defense has performed as expected by allowing just three goals in the first nine games.

The offense has been just as, if not more, impressive. Senior Rob Zerniak leads the team, which has scored 65 times in nine games, with 16 goals. Half a dozen other players have found twine at least five times. Sophomores Tim Anglim, Oscar Espinoza and Victor Hernandez have excelled.

Washington has scheduled the best non-conference competition it could find. It boasts a 2-0 victory over Conley. However, the Pam Pack simply outclasses a lot of the other teams in the immediate area.

That’s why Kozuch made a point to line up a match with a top-tier club in First Flight. Unfortunately, the game, which was scheduled for Monday, was rained out. The Nighthawks have a packed schedule from here on out, so the contest likely won’t be made up.

Sophomore Tim Anglim looks to get solid possession of a pass in the box. His seven goals on the season are second best on the team.

Sophomore Tim Anglim looks to get solid possession of a pass in the box. His seven goals on the season are second best on the team.

That game provided a chance for Washington to measure itself against arguably the best 2-A team in the east.

“We’ve been able to score some goals. We wanted to see if we could score some goals and play good defense against one of the most talented teams in the state,” Kozuch said. “We knew that, no matter what, year in and year out, no matter who we play, to get to the state championship, you have to go through First Flight in some sort of way.

“You can get a much better sense and feeling about where we stand by even just playing a close game with them. Obviously, we’re definitely disappointed to get rained out of that one.”

The Pam Pack will face some tough tests in conference play. Kozuch has tried a lot of different things in the nine games Washington has played thus far, so he feels he knows enough about the team to field a unit that will be successful in the league.

The two toughest challenges will come from North Pitt and North Johnston.

“No matter what, North Pitt is going to be a great game,” Kozuch said. “They’re a great little rivalry that we’ve had. Then, North Johnston is no slouch at all. North Johnston, this year, although their record doesn’t show it, they’re battle tested. They’ve taken on three or four of the top-five teams in the state.”

The Pam Pack met North Johnston thrice last season — twice in conference play and again in the postseason. Between those two conference foes, Kozuch believes his team will see enough stout competition to be prepared for the playoffs.

“If we can take care of them, hopefully that will put us in the upper echelon,” Kozuch said.

While the rain cost the Pam Pack its anticipated meeting with First Flight, it hasn’t cost them much in terms of practice time. Kozuch said the team has only missed one practice thanks to the indoor facilities at Athletic Edge.

Washington was supposed to open league play on Wednesday against Farmville Central, but the game was rained out. Now the Pam Pack will be on the road at North Pitt for its first conference game.