Early goal against, wayward finishing brings end to Pam Pack’s season

Published 6:17 pm Monday, November 5, 2018

WASHINGTON — On what began as a bright, sunny day ended in tears for the Washington soccer team on Saturday.

An early goal from Beddingfield saw the Bruins recede into a defensive posture and weather the storm, as the Pam Pack created chance after chance but couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net, with the score line reading 1-0 in favor of Beddingfield as the final whistle sounded and many members of the Pam Pack slumped to the ground, overcome with sorrow.

Washington (15-5, 11-1 2A Eastern Carolina Conference), which entered the 2A playoffs as the No. 15 seed in the east, went into the postseason having won its last eight games. But, the final six victories came against teams that finished the season with more losses than wins.

Pam Pack head coach Jim Kozuch said the lack of competition before the playoffs played a part in his team’s early exit from the state tournament.

“We didn’t play any tough games to end the season. We came out and we showed it,” Kozuch said. “We looked soft out there and just didn’t move the ball around very well. I don’t know if they had more than one good opportunity, they scored on it, and we just couldn’t finish.”

Despite No. 18 Beddingfield (12-4-2, 2A Eastern Plains Conference) scoring first, the first opportunity came courtesy of the Pam Pack, when Tim Anglim got a shot off from a set play off of a corner two minutes into the game. Unfortunately for the Pam Pack star attacker, the shot was straight at the Bruin goalkeeper.

Getting hit on the counter after controlling play has been an issue for Washington this season and that weakness reared its ugly head on Saturday. After a period of Pam Pack possession, Beddingfield forced a turnover in its own end of the field and unleashed a swift counter attack that ended with the ball nestled in the back of Will Crisp’s goal.

“I think we were a little slow in switching on a defensive play,” Kozuch said. “And, unfortunately, our last guy back had to come across and when he came across, it left two guys open. And you can’t leave anybody open in the box.”

The Bruins’ goal came with 32 minutes remaining in the first half, meaning Washington had plenty of time to find an equalizer. The Pam Pack created many chances, but Anglim, Elvin Elizalde, Dawson Cox, Michael Reid, Cody Pinkham, Oscar Espinoza and Jarod Esinoza all had shots that couldn’t find their mark. Making matters more difficult was the fact winger Graham Parker, who is one of Washington’s more creative players and takes corners and throw-ins that have been a source of goals this season, left the game in the second half with an injury.

As a team that hadn’t lost since Sept. 25, giving up an early goal to a lower seeded team was unexpected. Kozuch said it changed how his players approached the game.

“I was hoping that it wouldn’t, however, it did,” Kozuch said. “We forced everything and we played like we had 30 seconds to go the whole game, where we just needed to relax. We clearly out possessed them. It was tough with them; they played seven or eight guys behind the ball.”