Pam Pack tops North Pitt in hot conference start

Published 9:48 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2016

BETHEL — Rob Zeniak had scored a goal and saved one in the same game Tuesday evening, and Eric Ruiz had a part in four of five goals. Their efforts helped Washington earn a hard-fought 5-2 win in sloppy conditions against a strong North Pitt team.

“Rob played at every position tonight. Literally. It was a great effort from him,” coach Jim Kozuch said. “It was a great effort from all the guys.”

Washington remains undefeated and improves to 2-0 since starting 2-A Eastern Plains Conference on Monday at Farmville Central. The Pam Pack slaughtered the Jaguars, 9-0, to start its league campaign.

“It was an exciting game. We learned that (North Pitt) is a better team in this conference, and we can keep up with these guys,” Kozuch said. “Obviously, there were sloppy conditions, but we were just happy to get everybody out there.

“We were kind of nervous (coming in). With the terrible conditions last week, we didn’t get much outdoor practice. We wanted to move the ball around because we didn’t move the ball around very well (on Monday). We spread it pretty good and definitely happy with the outcome.”

Zerniak put Washington on the board early on. Ruiz fed the senior forward, who finished it nicely to put the Pam Pack ahead, 1-0, in the first five minutes.

The hosting Panthers nearly drew even in the 20th minute. Pam Pack goalkeeper Kevin Avilla made an aggressive play on an incoming striker, and it nearly backfired. The North Pitt faithful rose to their feet as the shot trickled past Avilla, but dinked off the goalpost.

Washington doubled its advantage four minutes later. Marcos Bolivar got in behind North Pitt’s defense, but the opposing keeper saved his shot. Ben McKeithan launched the ensuing throw in into the penalty area where it was accidently deflected into the net by a Panther defender.

Ruiz threaded a pass to a streaking Greyson Schmitt, who beat the defense and then the goalie. His goal put Washington ahead, 3-0, going into halftime.


The Pam Pack scored twice more in the second half to put the game away. Zerniak drew a foul in the penalty area early in the second half. Ruiz converted on the resulting penalty kick.


Sophomore Victor Hernandez wrapped up Washington’s scoring in the 48th minute. Ruiz notched his third assist of the game when he beat a defender and dribbled toward the net. He made a soft pass to Hernandez, who tapped it into the goal.

North Pitt scored twice in the final 13 minutes of the game, but it was too late for a comeback. Avilla got hurt making a play on the ball. He came out and Zerniak took his place. He made one save and then conceded a goal before Avilla reentered the game.

Avilla conceded a goal in the 71st minute, but still locked up Washington’s 11th win of the season.

Washington hosts Southwest Edgecombe on Thursday before traveling to North Johnston for another tough test. The Pam Pack and North Johnston last met in the playoffs last year.