Strong second half lets Washington contend for conference title

Published 9:50 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Washington has had one mission since losing at home to North Lenoir on Sept. 13. Knowing the Hawks would likely continue their winning ways, the Pam Pack has sought to win every game heading into Monday’s rematch.

A four-goal second half against Greene Central gave Washington a 5-0 win, setting the table for it to earn a share of the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference championship on Monday.

“We did what we needed to do. We started off slow, but had a pretty good second half after we figured out how to beat the offside trap,” head coach Jim Kozuch said. “You just can’t play straight balls up and down against that. You have to play balls on angles because it gives the guys time to catch up on it and gives them a step so they’re not offside.”

The chemistry between Tim Anglim and Marcos Bolivar was on display throughout. The two combined to draw first blood 10 minutes before halftime when Bolivar flicked in a cross from the right side. Anglim needed just one touch to put it in from point-blank range.

The two reversed roles in the 50th minute. This time it was Anglim streaking down the left side. He dropped a pass off to Bolivar who put it in the back of the net. Anglim scored his second of the game four minutes later thanks to the setup by Bolivar.

“It’s what we need to be successful,” Kozuch said. “We need our midfielders and forwards to link up. The two of them are doing a good job. They’re tough when they’re playing well.”

Washington scored a fourth time after Greene Central’s goalkeeper was shown a red card for a dangerous cleats-up slide tackle on Oscar Espinoza, who left the game with an injury afterward. Henry Jennings converted on the ensuing penalty kick.

Saul Rivera made it 5-0 in stoppage time. He nearly scored again shortly after, but had the ball jabbed loose by a Ram defender.

The game marked the return of all-star Pam Pack keeper Kevin Avilla. He missed three weeks of action and had a clean sheet in his comeback. He’s not 100 percent yet, but Kozuch said he’ll be in goal at North Lenoir on Monday.

Kevin Avilla gives a fist bump to coach Jim Kozuch during pregame introductions.

“He’s a little rusty. He came back, practiced yesterday and played half a game early last week against West Craven,” Kozuch said. “He’s always going to be strong in the air and on the ground, but with his feet, he’s going to need some work.”

Washington has four days off going into Monday’s game against the top-ranked Hawks.