Washington, North Pitt draw in Pam Pack’s opener

Published 9:55 pm Monday, August 21, 2017

“We’re a much better team than we put out there.”

That was Washington coach Jim Kozuch’s message to the Pam Pack players at halftime of Monday’s season opener against North Pitt. They enjoyed a 1-0 lead at the break thanks to Marcos Bolivar. The senior scored the team’s first goal of the season when he ripped a low shot from the left side of the box and beat North Pitt goalkeeper on the far side.

The Pam Pack showed glimpses of what Kozuch thought they’d be capable of. The boys struggled to piece together a complete game, though. The visiting Panthers finally cashed in on a defensive breakdown to tie the game at one apiece in the 64th minute. Washington keeper Kevin Avilla made an impressive save late, but the offense couldn’t find twine again in a 1-1 draw.

“It’s tough. We don’t have a very potent offense, and defensively, we lost all of our defense from last year,” Kozuch said. “The product we put out, it’s a work in progress.”

To put it in perspective, Washington has scored one goal or fewer only five times since the beginning of the 2015 season. Two of those instances were in the playoffs last season. One was the 2015 state-championship game.

“We played a terrible game tonight. Probably one of the worst performances I’ve seen from a Washington team in a while,” Kozuch said. “We practiced really hard, and we’ve done a lot of great things in practice, but there was zero execution on the field tonight.”

Growing pains are to be expected when the Pam Pack loses two of its best finishers and three of its four defensive starters. Even so, Kozuch was optimistic based on the way the team had been practicing ahead of its opener.

There were positives to take away. Tim Anglim got Washington’s first clean shot on goal just seven minutes into the game. As the game went on, his chemistry with speedy wing players like sophomore Dawson Cox became evident. The two had a click bang-bang passing play that got blocked when Cox took the one-time shot from the right side of the penalty area.

That said, the fruits of the Pam Pack’s labors should materialize before long. Even though it plays its first three games at home, the six-game stretch to open the fall features home-and-home series with both Conley and Rose. That level of competition doesn’t give Washington much of an opportunity to settle in.